Tailoring the polymeric nanoparticles for rubber reinforcement



Polymeric nanoparticles with brush-like polydiene as the shell and crosslinked polystyrene as the core are synthesized using anionic polymerization via a self-assembly process of macromolecules in solutions. The microstructures of nanoparticles were designed to match those of the matrix polymer used for tire compounds. Desirable compound properties were obtained by tailoring the shell sizes of the nanoparticles. Depending on the core/shell structures of the nanopartilces, the addition of the nanosized particles may impart the compound ultimate physical properties. Well reinforced compounds with enhanced dynamical storage modulus (G) without increasing their dependences on temperature and deformation strain can be obtained by the addition of the nanoparticle with lengthened shell chains. Improved tensile mechanical properties without increasing high-temperature hysteresis were also attained by such reinforcement. Passenger and truck tire applications can be advantageously benefited from these properties with improved tire handling and cornering consistence without increasing the rolling resistance and the sacrifices of other performances. A miscibility study was conducted on various binary blends of nanoparticle and rubber matrix. The compatibility between the nanoparticle and the matrix rubber along with the core concentration were demonstrated to be responsible for the observed improved compound properties. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011