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Nanofillers hold promise of greener tyres

The rubber industry commonly uses reinforcing fillers, such as carbon black, to improve the mechanical properties of rubber. The doctoral dissertation of Minna Poikelispää explores nanofillers that provide an environmentally friendly alternative to carbon black without compromising quality.

The tyre industry needs alternative fillers to improve the dynamic properties of tyres, such as grip and rolling resistance.

”In addition, there are environmental reasons for replacing carbon black, which is produced from fossil fuels,” says Minna Poikelispää, who will soon defend her doctoral dissertation at TUT.

Minna Poikelispää studied the partial replacement of carbon black with nanofillers, such as carbon nanotubes, layered silicates and halloysite nanotubes, in model tyre tread. Her results showed that the replacement of a small amount of carbon black with layered silicates and halloysite nanotubes decreases the loss factor of rubber at higher temperatures.

“This decreases the rolling resistance of tyres and therefore cuts down the fuel consumption of cars,” says Poikelispää.

She also examined the different mixing techniques of carbon nanotubes. Her research demonstrated that masterbatch mixing is a promising way to blend carbon nanotubes with rubber. Compared to the conventional direct mixing method, the process generated fewer airborne particles without sacrificing the properties of the rubber.

“Masterbatch mixing could decrease health risks during compounding.”

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Friday, 13 October

MSc (Tech) Minna Poikelispää’s doctoral dissertation in the field of materials science entitled ‘Improvements of Nanofiller-Elastomer Systems by Filler Modification and Tailored Mixing Techniques’ will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in room K1702 in the Konetalo building (address: Korkeakoulunkatu 6, Tampere, Finland) at 12:00 on Friday, 13 October 2017.

The opponents will be Professor Norbert Vennemann from Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Germany, and DSc (Tech) Marke Kallio from Metso, Finland. Professor Jyrki Vuorinen from the Laboratory of Materials Science will act as Chairman.

Minna Poikelispää works as a researcher in the Laboratory of Materials Science of TUT.

The dissertation is available online at: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-15-4018-9

Further information: Minna Poikelispää tel. +358 40 849 0121,

News submitted by: Sanna Kähkönen
Keywords: science and research, materials science