A novel practical approach for monitoring the crosslink density of an ethylene propylene diene monomer compound: Complementary scanning acoustic microscopy and FIB-SEM-EDS analyses


Yazici N., Opar E., KODAL M., TANOREN B. , SEZEN M., Ozkoc G.

POLYMERS & POLYMER COMPOSITES, vol.30, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/09673911221074193
  • Title of Journal : POLYMERS & POLYMER COMPOSITES
  • Keywords: crosslinking, crosslink density, scanning acoustic microscopy, focused ion beam, scanning electron microscopy, ethylene propylene diene monomer, COMPOSITE SOFT MATERIALS, NATURAL-RUBBER, MECHANICAL-PROPERTIES, CURE CHARACTERISTICS, THERMAL-STABILITY, COMPRESSIBILITY, VULCANIZATION, MORPHOLOGY, PARTICLES, SULFUR

Abstract

Tuning of the crosslink density (CLD) in the rubber compounds is very crucial for optimizing the physical and mechanical properties of the ultimate rubber products. Conventionally, CLD can be measured via rheological methods such as moving die rheometer (MDR), via mechanical tests such as temperature scanning stress relaxation analysis (TSSR), or via direct swelling experiments using Flory-Rehner approach. In the current study, two novel techniques, focused ion beam - scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) processing, with simultaneous energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) mapping analysis and scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) were combined and correlated to conventional methods on a model recipe of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) compound having different sulphur contents. Depending on the applied technique, the increase in the crosslink density with sulphur content was found to be 1.7 fold for the Flory-Rehner approach and 1.2 fold for both TSSR and MDR. It is directly monitored from the FIB-SEM-EDS analysis that the sulphur distribution and agglomeration behavior increased in line with ZnO content, which is an indirect indication of the rise in crosslink density. The impedance maps of the crosslinked samples obtained through SAM analysis revealed that the impedance of the samples increased with the increasing sulphur content, which can be attributed to higher level of crosslink density. A quantified correlation was obtained between SAM images and the crosslink density of the samples. It was shown that SAM is a promising tool for practical and non-destructive analysis for determining the formation of crosslink density of the rubbers.