Automotive tires are expected to perform well in three key areas: wear resistance, fuel efficiency, and traction. Though the physical design of tires plays a role, the primary opportunity for improving tires is to develop new rubber formulations. Unfortunately, rubber compounds that improve performance in one area often degrade performance in one or both of the others. This conundrum has come to be known as the “Magic Triangle.”
Understanding nanostructure-performance relationships in rubber blends is critical to developing next-generation tire tread materials. Atomic force microscopy (AFM), also known as scanning probe microscopy (SPM), is an ideal tool for this work. Asylum Research AFMs offer unique capabilities that can not only examine the morphology of rubber blends but can also identify components, map their distribution, and measure their nanoscale mechanical properties.
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