Tread is an important component that directly affects the performance of passenger car radial (PCR) tires. Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) is mainly used for tire tread and it includes solution styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) and emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (ESBR). Although SSBR is mainly used, the manufacturing process for SSBR is more challenging than ESBR, which is environmentally friendly, but has the disadvantage of a broad molecular weight distribution. To overcome this, a reversible addition-fragmentation radical transfer (RAFT) polymerization technique is used in ESBR polymerization. An environmentally friendly RAFT ESBR with a narrow dispersity can be polymerized. Here, carbon black-filled compounds were manufactured while using RAFT ESBR, and their properties were compared to ESBR. The analysis showed a low crosslink density of RAFT ESBR, due to the high polysulfide crosslink structure. We manufactured a carbon black-filled compound with the same crosslink density and structure as the ESBR carbon black-filled compound, and the effect of the dispersity of the base polymer was investigated. RAFT ESBR showed 9% better abrasion resistance and 29% better fuel efficiency than ESBR, according to the analysis of the data. The narrow dispersity can reduce energy loss and positively influence the abrasion resistance and fuel efficiency.
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