Mimicking the velcro system from the nature for an alternative rubber/silica coupling system

Rafal Piotr Anyszka, Wilma K. Dierkes, Dariusz Bielinski, Karolina Beton, Essi Sarlin, Anke Blume

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Beside carbon black, silica becomes the most important filler for high-performance rubber products. However, unlike carbon black its surface properties are not favorable for providing satisfactory rubber/filler interactions. A significant amount of silanol groups present on the silica surface results in a considerably polar character, whereas most of rubbers exhibit a non-polar or relatively low-polar character. Because of this, various approaches towards different surface treatments of silica were made. Currently, it is state of the art that thesilanization with sulfide-silanes or mercaptosilanes is applied to provide an improved rubber/filler couplingvia sulfur links during vulcanization of rubber. Such solution results in the formation of strong, covalent bonds between the silica surface and rubber macromolecules giving the required performance. However, the covalent, sulfur links are relatively stiff and once broken they are unable to reconnect. Moreover, this type of coupling provides only one type of rubber/filler connections via sulfur chains, therefore not leaving much space for tailoring and modifying the interactions. The aim of this research is to introduce an alternative type of rubber/silica coupling inspired by the velcro system existing in nature. The bio-mimicking mechanism bases on physical entanglements and steric hindrance between tangled rubber macromolecules – acting as molecular loops - and oligomer brushes grafted on the silica surface – acting as molecular hooks. This results in the formation of molecular hooks- and-loops, a rubber/silica interphasefastener.The oligomer brushes were synthesized using a monohydroxy telechelic butadiene oligomercontaining ca. 65 % of monomeric units in vinyl configuration as a backbone, which wasconnected to the silica surface via an isocyanate silane. Afterwards, various thiols were attached to this oligomeric backbone by radical reaction with the vinyl groups of the oligomer. Depending on the chemical structure of the used thiols, these synthesized brushes interact differently with the rubber matrix influencing macroscopic properties of the rubber compound. This approach allows tailoring of rubber/filler interactions by using thiols of various chemical structures as side groups of an oligomer backbone. A major advantage of this coupling system is the possibility to reconnect the rubber/filler physical joints after their detachment. The present work is the first step towards the implementation of a velcro-likefastener as analternative coupling method between rubber and silica.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2018
Event13th Fall Rubber Colloquium/13th Kautschuk-Herbst-Kolloquium - Hannover, Germany
Duration: 6 Nov 20188 Nov 2018
Conference number: 13


Conference13th Fall Rubber Colloquium/13th Kautschuk-Herbst-Kolloquium
Abbreviated titleKHK 2018
Internet address


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