Elastomer Technology Landsacape: Conductive Rubber


Rubber is a good insulator, but why are aircraft tires are made conducting? Ordinary rubber is an insulator but for aircraft tire, it was designed to be conducting. Why is that? Probably because aircraft picks 'static charges' from rain, cloud, snow etc. that can cause all sorts of problems such as communication (i.e. electromagnetic interference) and material damages (i.e. corrosion). This issue can be minimized with static discharger (installed on aircraft) which discharges static electricity into the atmosphere. However, there is always some amount of static electricity which is not fully discharged. As the aircraft start to land, before the actual touch down, a moment when there is 1-2 cm gap between tires and the road, sparks will be generated (due to electricity charges imbalance). To ease this discharging process without excessive spark generation (that can cause explosion in some cases), it would be necessary to make tires a little bit conductive. Conductive rubber can be made usually by distributing carbon or other conductive particles throughout the rubber material during compounding stage. To know more about conductive rubber, contact your local rubber compounder or formulator or you can also contact us.


Dr Mohammad Azizol Abdul Wahab, C.Eng, MPRIM
Lead Scientist (Elastomers), SABIC

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