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Fatigue and Abrasion Mechanisms in Fabric Reinforced Rubber Belting


The central technical objective is to develop an improved
understanding of the basic mechanisms of abrasion and crack initiation in fabric reinforced rubber belt. The specific approach is to use new optical surface texture measurements (OSTM) to correlate with filler dispersion, intrinsic flaw size, abrasion and crack initiation. A new abrasion test for rubber abrasion against smooth surfaces will be developed. New optical instrumentation will be developed. A fracture mechanics approach will provide the theoretical basis for finite element analysis of crack and abrasion formation with a crack modelling step size of 0.001 to 0.01mm. Full scale belt fatigue tests will be performed for two types of industrial belt made under factory conditions, to verify the approach. New flouro elastomer compounds will be developed for ten times improved fatigue resistance for colour photocopier machines.

The industrial objectives are closely linked to the technical objectives. The first industrial objective is to develop a fabric reinforced rubber belt (the fuser belt) for image transfer in new high volume colour photocopier machines to have between 4 and 10 times better resistance to abrasion and fatigue (from 300,000 to 5,000,000 copies before replacement). The second industrial objective is to develop an optical instrument for the non destructive evaluation of the fatigue resistance of vulcanised rubber belts. The third industrial objective is to develop a compound development methodology for the fatigue resistance of conveyor belts for mining and people transport applications. Advanced finite element modelling techniques will be used to assess the fatigue life of belt design as a design tool.

The proposal describes the industrial problems and technical objectives, the current state of the art and details of the 10 technical tasks. The partnership structure brings together the leading European organisations in each of their fields from 5 different countries in Europe; namely a research organisation specialising in rubber fatigue, an optical equipment manufacturer, a manufacturer of photocopy machines, a manufacturer of conveyor belts, a producer of fluoropolymers and a technical university. The proposal describes the management approach and the economic, industrial and environmental benefits. A peripheral environmental benefit is that a better understanding of abrasion in filled rubber may help the development of tyre compounds less prone to cause air pollution from small particles of rubber debris.

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CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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Participants (5)