Finite viscoelasticity of filled rubber: Experiments and numerical simulation

A. D. Drozdov, A. Dorfmann

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Abstract

Constitutive equations are derived for the viscoelastic behavior of particle-reinforced elastomers at isothermal deformation with finite strain. A filled rubber is thought of as a composite medium where inclusions with high and low concentrations of junctions between chains are randomly distributed in the bulk material. The characteristic length of the inhomogeneities is assumed to be small compared to the size of the specimen and substantially exceed the radius of gyration for macromolecules. Inclusions with high concentration of junctions are associated with regions of suppressed mobility of chains that surround isolated clusters and/or the secondary network of filler. Regions with low concentration of junctions arise during the preparation process due to a heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of the cross-linker and the filler. With reference to the concept of transient networks, the time-dependent response of an elastomer is attributed to thermally activated rearrangement of strands in the domains with low concentration of junctions. Stress-strain relations for particle-reinforced rubber are developed by using the laws of thermodynamics. Adjustable parameters in the constitutive equations are found by fitting experimental data in tensile relaxation tests for several grades of unfilled and carbon black-filled rubber. It is demonstrated that even at moderate finite deformations (with axial elongations up to 100%), the characteristic rate of relaxation is noticeably affected by strain. Unlike glassy polymers, where the rate of relaxation increases with longitudinal strain, the growth of the elongation ratio results in a decrease in the relaxation rate for natural rubber (unfilled or particle-reinforced). The latter may be explained by (partial) crystallization of chains in the regions with low concentration of junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-672
Number of pages22
JournalArchive of Applied Mechanics
Volume72
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Constitutive equation
  • Finite strain
  • Particle-reinforced rubber
  • Transient network
  • Viscoelasticity

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