Mechanisms of extrudate swell and melt fracture in SBR compounds
The purpose of this study is to identify and quantify factors governing extrudate swell and melt fracture. In the first part, the factors which control the extrudate swell of carbon black (N330) filled styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) compounds at various states-of-mix were investigated. State-of-mix is quantified by effective filler volume fraction (EFVF), based on an estimate of the amount of rubber immobilised in the carbon black agglomerates. Extrudate swell was found to be dominated by recoverable strain and relaxation time, which are controlled by EFVF. In contrast, shear rate and the rubber-carbon black tridimensional transient network were not found to influence extrudate swell significantly. In the second part, melt fracture of the rubber compounds was investigated in terms of surface texture wavelength. The longer the wavelength, the greater the severity of the surface disruption. It was found that wavelength was controlled strongly by state-of mix (or by EFVF). In addition, a mechanism for melt fracture of the compounds studied has been proposed, based on average energy at the extrudate surface (t.E). Lastly, the influences of additives; paraffinic processing oil, stearic acid or a mixture of predominantly calcium fatty acid soaps on extrudate swell and melt fracture were investigated. For the rubber compounds with paraffinic processing oil or stearic acid, EFVF was found to play an important role in extrudate swell. The mixture of fatty acid soaps was shown to reduce significantly extrudate swell due to the presence of wall slip. The influence of the fatty acid soaps on extrudate swell is more noticeable for extrudates obtained from long dies, in which flow is dominated by shear. The major factors shown to exert a significant influence on melt fracture for the compounds with paraffinic processing oil or stearic acid are EFVF and green strength of the extrudate. Wall slip, promoted by a mixture of fatty acid soaps, was also found to decrease the melt fracture severity, particularly for long dies in which shear stresses are dominant.