Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Voglewede, Philip A.

Second Advisor

Lin, Ting

Third Advisor

Rice, James


is demand for increasing rubber life in parts within medium and heavy duty suspension systems. Rubber plays a major factor in lightening the overall weight of the suspension system; therefore, increasing the hauling capacity of the truck. This thesis focused on optimizing the cure time and cure temperature of the manufacturing process as it relates to the fatigue life of rubber suspension parts. Samples of rubber parts were made using molding techniques with different process parameters, specifically cure time and temperature. These samples then underwent a series of nondestructive tests, to quantify, for example, dynamic stiffness, and then a destructive test, to quantify fatigue life. Multiple analytical approaches were then used to determine the process parameters that produced the rubber components with the highest fatigue life. Similarly, regression models were utilized to predict fatigue life based on nondestructive test results. The fatigue testing had to be terminated prematurely due to inconsistent fatigue results based on the failure mechanism of the samples. However, the design of experiment created and the analysis techniques used in this thesis will be the basis for future experiments performed on new rubber products.

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