246 Physical testing of rubber
specialised tests for particular products which may have characteristics of both types. For example, tyres fail by fatigue in which heat build-up is important and also suffer from groove and sidewall cracking, so that, logically, a realistic test would simulate both.
CUT GROWTH TESTS
The vast majority of flex-cracking tests strain the test piece in flexure, representing the mode of deformation experienced in service by such important products as tyres, belting and footwear. Unfortunately, despite the obvious logic of this approach, there are disadvantages. The principal problem is that it is difficult to control the degree of bending, which may, for example, vary with the modulus of the rubber and, because the fatigue life of rubber will be sensitive to the magnitude of the applied strain, misleading results may be obtained. The more nearly the deformation produced in the laboratory test reproduces that experienced in service the better should be the hope of correlation. It is hardly necessary to add that most products are subjected to a most complex pattern of straining. The alternative approach is to use a simple but reproducible mode of deformation such as pure tension.
1.1 Flexing methods
A variety of flex tests have been used, many intended for particular products such as belting, footwear and coated fabrics, but a number of them, although once well known, are not now in such common use. A useful review was given by Buist and Williams in
Four types of machine in which bending is produced in different ways are shown schematically in Figure 12.1. The most widely known and standardised apparatus, the De Mattia, has the action shown in Figure 12.1(a). The test piece, which is a strip with a transverse groove, is fixed in two clamps which move towards each other to bend the strip into a loop. The maximum surface strain at the critical point X is somewhat indeterminate. In the 'flipper' or Torrens machine (Figure 12.1(b)), the strip test piece, fixed in a slot in the periphery of a rotating wheel, is bent against a fixed, but freely rotatable, roller. Again, the radius of curvature, and hence the maximum surface strain, is not precisely controlled. In the Du Pont machine (Figure 12.1(c)), the test pieces are connected together to form an endless belt and run over a series of pulleys of specified diameters. Although the overall radius of bending is controlled, the surface strain in the test piece is complicated by it having several transverse 'V grooves. The Ross machine (Figure 12.1(d)) bends the test piece through 90"^ over a rod and the