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Elastomer Materials

Fields of work

Elastomeric Nano-Composites

Elastomeric Nano-Composites

Almost any technically used rubber material is filled with particles in nanometer size, by which the properties of the material can be specific controlled. In modern car tires the used fillers have crucial influence on driving security (wet grip and ice grip), on fuel consumption (rolling resistance) and on the cost-effectiveness (life time of the tire).The first fillers used in rubber application were carbon blacks; actually in passenger car tires mostly surface modified silica is applied. The implementation of novel filler systems like organophilic modified layered silicates (organo-clays), layered double hydroxides, halloysites or carbon nanotubes is subject of intense research at the Leibniz-Institute of Polymer Research Dresden.

Environment-friendly vulcanisation chemistry

Although zinc oxide is regarded as environmentally hazardous and very toxic to aquatic organisms, there was till now no alternative in the sulfur crosslinking of rubber products to the use of zinc oxide. Usage of zinc-containing hydrotalcites can reduce the zinc content in the vulcanisates to a tenth of the current rate. Simultaneously, these additives act as reinforcing agents and enable also the production of transparent rubber materials.

Hydrotalcide (SEM)
Elastomers containing Zn-Al LDH-stearate (NBR1, 2, NBR10, XNBR); NBR3: conventional vulcanizate with ZnO
Dispersion of Zn-Al LDH-stearate (4phr) in NBR (TEM)

High performance materials for better energy efficiency and CO2-saving

Composite materials made of rubber and reinforcements are widely used in industry and society. As part of a joint project with relevant industry partners, further opportunities are given to technical elastomers, such as automotive (belts, air springs, hoses) to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to a longer lifetime at higher temperatures, improvements in chemical resistance (use of biofuels are to be expected) and permeability, lead to a reduction of the impact on the environment by greenhouse gases. In addition, these materials developments are also applicable to other industrial applications and industries.

Contact angle measurement of a layer of fixed particles (Wilhelmy method)
Wilhelmy plate covered by Carbon Black particles

Impact of filler/polymer-interfaces on mechanical properties of elastomeric materials

The aim is to investigate a link between characteristic physical characteristics of filler-polymer interface, filler-polymer interphase (a few nanometers thick layer of immobilized polymer) and the global mechanical properties of the entire elastomeric composite. This project will provide new insights into the physics of strain induced nonlinear material properties of filled elastomers. These can also be used for a variety of applications in the field of material development and design of elastomeric components.

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Dispersion of CNT and ionic liquid in CR (TEM)

Employment of ionic liquids for compatibilisation of carbon nanotubes with polymer matrix

In order to ensure better rubber / carbon nanotube (CNT) compatibility and to enhance the dispersibility, a series of ionic liquids has been tested in regard to an improved interaction between rubber and carbon nanotubes. Dynamic mechanical analysis confirm the specific interaction of CNTs and diene rubber chains by showing an extra relaxation process at relatively higher temperature in the temperature sweep measurements. Raman spectroscopic analysis also support the specific interaction between CNTs and rubber molecules. Transmission electron microscopic images confirm the good dispersion of the CNTs along with a ‘cellular’-like structure of the CNTs in the rubber matrix.


A fully equipped laboratory for the production and characterization of elastomeric materials is available.

Application Laboratory for Elastomers

Leibniz Application Laboratory Multifunctional Polymer Materials

  • Knowedge transfer of basic research into industrialised projects
  • On demand research of high performance elastomer composites
  • Individual modification of elastomer nano-composites
  • Reduction of environmentally harmful impacts including with more efficient material characteristics

Material characterization

Elastomer Materials