Study of adhesion between microspheres and rubber surfaces accompanied by meniscus formation and sedimentation

This paper reports on the adhesion characteristics between microspheres and rubber surfaces. Silica, polystyrene, and poly(methyl methacrylate) microspheres were deposited on cis-1,4-polybutadiene (BR) films.

A BR meniscus formed on the sphere surfaces when the film thickness was less than the diameters of the spheres. Additionally, the attractive forces acting on the spheres in the direction of the BR films were examined via atomic force microscopy.

Sedimentation of the spheres occurred for films with thicknesses much greater than the diameters of the microspheres in all systems. Interestingly, this wetting process occurred even in the silica/BR system, despite the incompatibility of these materials.

The driving force for meniscus formation is the difference between the surface free energy of BR (?BR ) and that of the spheres (?sphere ). For all systems, ?BR is lower than ?sphere , i.e ., the BR surface is more stable than those of the spheres, and thus a meniscus forms to stabilize the system.

Once a meniscus formed, a downward force acted on the spheres to embed them into the BR film. Sedimentation eventually ceased when the angle between the tangential line of the sphere and the rubber surface became equal to the equilibrium contact angle determined by Young’s equation.

Interestingly, the sedimentation behavior was nearly identical for spheres with various surface free energy values except in terms of their final positions. The same sedimentation phenomena were studied with crosslinked BR films.

In contrast to the experiments performed using various types of spheres, the sedimentation behavior varied with different rubber characteristics. The results of these studies indicate that the sedimentation behavior mainly depends on the physical properties of the rubbers used, although the physical properties of the spheres are in determining their final depth.

Published on: 2017-02-07

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