Survey of Design Methods and Material Characteristics in Rubber Engineering

Per Erik Austrell, Martin Bellander, Bengt Stenberg, Ulf Carlsson, Leif Kari, Sture Persson

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The unique properties of elastomeric materials are taken advantage of in many engineering applications. Elastomeric units are used as couplings or mountings between stiff structures. Examples of these are shock absorbers, vibration insulators, flexible joints, seals and suspensions.
The development of computers and of analysis programs in this area has given engineers a new tool for the design of elastomeric components. Computer simulation by finite element analysis has become increasingly important, allowing the mechanical behavior of products with for complex geometries, as well as loading cases of different kinds to be evaluated. Computer simulations enable both static and dynamic aspects to be analyzed. These matters have been recognized by the manufacturers of rubber products and by their customers. The benefits are shorter time for product development and also quality improvements.
However, the possibilities available for finding less complicated technical solutions at lower cost with the use of elastomers, has not been fully utilized. Rubber components could be employed more frequently in design if engineers were more familiar with materials of this sort.
Part of the problem lies in education and in the dissemination of information. Engineers working in the design area tend to not be very familiar with elastomeric materials and their properties. The offerings of courses on the mechanics of polymers at schools and universities are very limited. Skillful engineers in this field have usually acquired their knowledge through many years of experience and not formal education.
Moreover, the complicated nature of the material behavior involved makes it difficult to devise general design rules and design tools. Only recently have computers and analysis programs become powerful enough for the analysis of nonlinear elastic problems involving large strains.
It is essential, if one is to become competitive in high-tech applications, to possess a thorough knowledge of computer methods, material models and test methods available.
There has likewise been a lack of relevant data for the computer analysis of elastomeric materials. The design tools employed rely on the material models available and on the test data required for the calibration of these models. In many cases, the only information available for analysis is a value for the hardness of the rubber in question. The wide variety of rubber compounds is also a problem. The characterization of different materials is costly and time-consuming. There is thus a need for simple and reliable methods to characterize the different vulcanizates.
FörlagDivision of Structural Mechanics, LTH
UppdragsgivareVerket för näringslivsutveckling (NUTEK)
Antal sidor144
StatusPublished - 1999 feb.


ISSN (tryckt)0281-6679

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Textil-, gummi- och polymermaterial


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