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Keywords:

  • anisotropic;
  • crosslinked polymer;
  • elastomer;
  • rubber;
  • thermal conductivity;
  • thermal properties

Abstract

Anisotropic thermal transport in a crosslinked polyisoprene (natural rubber) subjected to uniaxial elongation is investigated experimentally. Using a novel optical technique based on forced Rayleigh scattering, two components of the thermal diffusivity tensor are measured as a function of stretch ratio. The thermal diffusivity is found to increase in the direction parallel, and decrease in the direction perpendicular, to the stretch direction. The level of anisotropy for the natural rubber is substantially lower than that reported by Tautz 50 years ago but comparable to that found in our previous studies on molten polymers, quenched thermoplastics, and other crosslinked elastomers. Thermal diffusivity data along with measurements of the tensile stress were used to evaluate the stress-thermal rule, which was found to be valid over the entire range of stretch ratios. In contrast, failure of the stress-optic rule was observed at stretch ratios well below the largest value at which the stress-thermal rule was valid. This suggests that the degree of anisotropy in thermal conductivity depends on both orientation and stretch of polymer chain segments. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2012