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Sumitomo Rubber & Tohoku University Succeed in Increasing Speed of X-Ray CT Imaging of Rubber Failure Phenomena by Approximately 1,000x(Press Release)

Release Date
08 Mar, 2021
  • BL28B2 (White Beam X-ray Diffraction)
Introducing the Next Evolution of Proprietary ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN Sumitomo Rubber’s New Materials Development Technology

March 8, 2021
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.
IMRAM, Tohoku University

 Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI) and Associate Professor Wataru Yashiro of the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, Tohoku University’s (IMRAM) are pleased to announce that we have achieved an approximately thousand-fold increase in the speed of 4D-CT (4-Dimensional Computed Tomography) imaging thanks to collaborative research that brings together industry and academia. The 4D-CT technique involved in this research was originally developed by SRI as part of ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN, a proprietary New Materials Development Technology that the company first unveiled in 2015. The culmination of joint research between SRI that possesses extensive knowledge on rubber and Associate Professor Wataru Yashiro who possesses the world’s fastest*1 CT imaging technology*2, this breakthrough now makes it possible to observe rubber failure as it occurs during actual tire usage at varying speeds*3.

 Since first unveiling ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN in 2015, SRI has actively utilized the core technology available at the SPring-8*4 synchrotron radiation research facility to carry out new materials development, taking full advantage of 4D-CT imaging with the aim of improving rubber wear performance. However, up until now, it took several seconds to capture a single 3D image using the existing 4D-CT technique. Thus, in order to enhance the precision of imagery, there was a pressing need to increase the speed of imaging. And so, SRI and Tohoku University initiated joint research with the aim of developing the base technology to realize “High-Speed 4D-CT Imaging.” As a result of this research, we have succeeded in increasing the speed of imaging by approximately a thousand-fold, meaning that a 3D image can now be captured in around 1/100 of a second. This advancement allows for continuous, high-speed observation of rubber failure phenomena in three dimensions and under conditions that better approximate the state of tire rubber during actual wear. SRI plans to utilize this technology not only to accelerate the development of new tire materials to provide superior wear resistance, greater environmental friendliness and longer service life, but also to develop new materials in order to achieve further advancements in SMART TYRE CONCEPT, our forward-thinking concept for the development of tires and peripheral services.

Schematic of High-Speed 4D-CT Imaging System & Resulting 3D Image of Rubber Failure in Progress

Schematic of High-Speed 4D-CT Imaging System & Resulting 3D Image of Rubber Failure in Progress

Rubber Failure in Progress as Observed Using High-Speed 4D-CT Imaging

 At the same time, SRI and Tohoku University are also active participants in CREST (Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology), a program created by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) to promote and support original world-class research. Through CREST, we are moving forward with the development of a multi-beam 4D-CT technique that can achieve “Ultra-High-Speed 4D-CT Imaging.” SRI aims to develop even more advanced materials by utilizing this multi-beam 4D-CT technique in conjunction with machine learning and other advanced data processing techniques in order to analyze the enormous amounts of data that this imaging technique will generate once complete.


※1. Source: W. Yashiro, et al., Optica, (2020). 7(5), 514.:https://doi.org/10.1364/OPTICA.384804

※2 CT (Computed Tomography) technology uses x-rays, etc. to capture multiple images of the internal structure of an object. A computer then converts these images into a single tomographic (i.e. cross section) image. This technology is commonly used by hospitals to perform CT scans.

※3 Source: R. Mashita, et al., J. Syncrotron Rad., (2021). 28, 322.:https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600577520014666

※4 The SPring-8 facility (Location: Sayo Town, Hyogo Prefecture) can generate a beam with energy of 8GeV, making it the most powerful synchrotron radiation facility in the world.



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Sumitomo Rubber & Tohoku University Succeed in Increasing Speed of X-Ray CT Imaging of Rubber Failure Phenomena by Approximately 1,000x(Press Release)