In this work the effect of swelling and temperature on the resistivity of highly carbon black filled elastomers under strain is investigated. This work shows that swelling, even to a modest extent of less than 10%, causes a marked increase in the electrical resistivity. The effect of a linear expansion due to swelling is much more marked than an equivalent linear tensile extension on the electrical resistivity. The increase in electrical resistivity with swelling is also much greater than the increase due to a reduction in the volume fraction of the carbon black alone. The increase in resistivity depends somewhat upon the chemical nature of the swelling agent. There is a relatively small effect of temperature induced volume change on resistivity, contrasting markedly with the large effect of a volume increase due to swelling. These observations suggest that on swelling there is a preferential migration of the solvent to the rubber/filler interfaces. This will push the carbon black aggregates apart and lead to a dramatic increase in the resistivity across the interface. There are also indications that at elevated temperatures the filler/rubber interactions are reduced. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 42: 2161–2167, 2004
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