The research activities of the research group Elastomer Technology and Engineering at the University of Twente focus on a variety of elements of rubber technology.
The following gives an overview of the main items of our research.
In filler technology, the emphasis of the work is on reinforcing fillers based on silica/silane systems, with special focus on alternative coupling agents and processing of the compounds. The main application here is for tire treads, for passenger car as well as for truck tires.
There is a strong interest to explore natural rubber in tire treads. Natural rubber needs to be reinforced with silica, and this is a rather problematic combination. The interaction between the non-rubber constituents in natural rubber as well as modified natural rubber types and the filler system are studied.
The work on fibre reinforcing includes long as well as short fibres. One research question in this context is the adhesion between fibre and rubber, another one is the influence on the tire properties. As the majority of the projects is related to tires, a special interest lies in dynamic properties of the material as indicators for the tire performance.
Recycling is another research line within ETE. Rubber is originally made for high durability and stability, in particular for tire applications, therefore it is difficult to reverse the material formation process. The R&D work is based on a cradle-to-cradle approach, e.g. tires back into tires. This implies that the vulcanization process has to be reversed in order to get a processable material back which can undergo another service life.