Three-Dimensional Dispersion of Nano-Fillers in Soft Composite as Revealed by Transmission Electron Microscopy/Electron Tomography (3D-TEM)
. Generally rubber products are a typical soft material, and a composite of a nano-filler (typically, carbon black or particulate silica) and a rubber (natural rubber and various synthetics are used). The properties of these soft nano-composites have been well known to depend on the dispersion of the nano-filler in the rubbery matrix. The most powerful tool for the elucidation of it has been transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The microscopic techniques are based on the projection of 3-dimensional (3D) body on a plane (x, y plane), thus the structural information along the thickness (z axis) direction of the sample is difficult to obtain. This paper describes our recent results on the dispersion of carbon black (CB) and particulate silica in natural rubber (NR) matrix observed by TEM combined with electron tomography (3D-TEM) technique, which enabled us to obtain images of 3D nano-structure of the sample. Thus, 3D images of CB and silica in NR matrix are visualized and analyzed in this communication. These results are precious ones for the design of soft nano-composites, and the technique will become an indispensable one in nanotechnology.
Paula Maria Vilarinho
S. Kohjiya, "Three-Dimensional Dispersion of Nano-Fillers in Soft Composite as Revealed by Transmission Electron Microscopy/Electron Tomography (3D-TEM)", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 514-516, pp. 353-358, 2006