TOKYO—Sumitomo Rubber Industries says it has cracked the mystery surrounding rubber failure, in a joint study with the Dresden, Germany-based Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research.
The Japanese tire and rubber company said the "ground-breaking" research sheds light on the unknown mechanism that causes microscopic voids within the rubber which lead to the formation and propagation of cracks.
According to SRI, previous research had failed to "fully explicate" the theory that the fracturing of rubber molecules and the formation of voids within rubber at the microscopic scale led to the formation and growth of cracks in the rubber and eventually rubber failure.
In 2015, using its "advanced 4D Nano design," Sumitomo advanced rubber development technology by managing to suppress void formation. With this latest joint research, the company says it has succeeded in "directly observing internal structural changes in combination with the mechanical behavior of molecules within actual synthetic rubber specimens."
SRI claims that the findings of the research will give "greater control over viscoelastic properties of the rubber" and could help develop rubber materials with "extremely high durability."
The company will continue to work on the results to translate them into "high-performance tires that resist wear to maintain their performance for longer lifetime."
The company said the breakthrough was achieved through two different types of experiments.