English Abstract

Structural Observation in Rubber Composite using High-resolution Phase-contrast X-ray Microtomography.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., Kobe, Japan
Nippon Gomu Kyokaishi,(2019),92(2),82-87 General Review in Japanese

To elucidate the nature of the mechanical properties of rubber composite, it is necessary to investigate the 3D structure of polymers and fillers in rubber composite over a wide-size scale. We have utilized ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering to observe changes in the aggregate/agglomerate structure of nanoparticles in uniaxially stretched rubber.1), 2) However, real-space 3D structural information cannot be directly obtained with a scattering technique. Therefore, the development of a real-space microscopy technique is required. X-ray imaging techniques have also been developed in association with advances in synchrotron X-ray technology. The advantages of X-ray imaging include a wider field of view, sub-micron-level spatial resolution and less damage to the specimen. In this study, the 3D structure of spherical silica particles and polymers in rubber composite was visualized with a higher spatial resolution using a Zernike-type phase contrast X-ray microtomography. This method improved the contrast of images and gave us an opportunity to investigate a detailed 3D-submicron scale configuration of fillers and polymers with a wide field of view. This method was proven to be a powerful tool to obtain the 3D structural configuration of soft materials.

Keywords: Phase Contrast, Microtomography, Synchrotron Radiation, Rubber Composites