Rubber for Mars applications

Rafal Piotr Anyszka, Li Jia, Dariusz M. Bielinski, Norbert Nizel, Anke Blume

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticleProfessional

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Abstract

Mars exploration draws significant attention as space agencies are able to deliver onto its surface more and more sophisticated scientific devices that aim to reveal the secrets of the red planet. Since February 2021, three rovers and one helicopter equipped with cutting-edge technology explore the surface of Mars. The performance of rovers and other devices intended to investigate Mars in the future is expected to grow as new types of software allow independent operations, without a human operator. In such conditions, the sensitive equipment installed on the rovers could suffer from vibrations caused by intensive driving. To overcome this disadvantage, the application of elastic damping elements is required. However, currently, no rubber compound is available that is specially designed for Mars’ environment. This work aims to cover this gap by developing rubber compounds that can withstand the challenging environmental conditions on Mars.
To fulfill this task 70/30 phr ratio blends of Butadiene and Silicone Rubbers (BR/VMQ) were prepared. Silicone rubber exhibits the lowest glass transition temperature of all rubber types and has high UV resistance, while butadiene rubber provides good mechanical properties and wear resistance. However, bending these two types of rubber is a challenging task since they are thermodynamically non-miscible. Therefore, Carbon Black (CB) of N330 and N774 grades were added to improve the blend homogeneity and mechanical properties. The kinetics of vulcanization parameters changed with the amount and type of the fillers. Also, the Payne effect increased with the increased amount of CBs, which was more significant for the more reinforcing N330 grade. In general, the compounds' dispersion and homogeneity were moderate, except for the compound containing 50 phr of N330 CB. However, the best homogeneity of this vulcanizate in combination with the poorly cured VMQ phase resulted in reduced mechanic moduli during the tensile tests. Nevertheless, the properties of all the compounds were on a satisfactory level allowing their application as rubber products of good performance. The addition of CB shows the potential to improve the VMQ/BR blend homogeneity, which may contribute to the future successful development of rubber for Mars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages18-22
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationTire technology international
PublisherUKIP Media & Events
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Mars
  • rubber
  • carbon black
  • 2023 OA procedure

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