CIFRE thesis in partnership with Michelin

Kinetics of silica-silane-adjuvant interactions by coupling experimental characterizations and multivariate modeling

Context and description of the project

Michelin is a world leader in the manufacture of environmentally friendly tires, in particular by incorporating silica as a reinforcing filler. The incorporation of this filler requires the use of a coupling agent, called silane, which allows the enhancement of rubber-filler interactions at the nanoscale by the creation of strong bonds between the silica and the polymer. However, the mechanism and kinetics of these reactions are still poorly understood.

The objective of this thesis will be to establish the fundamental parameters governing the grafting-condensation reactions of the coupling agent on silica in the presence of adjuvants.

The core of the work will consist in studying the reactivity of these silanes in situ by IR spectroscopy coupled if necessary by other experimental characterizations (mass spectrometry, gravimetric analysis, NMR…), data processing and multivariate modelling (chemometric analyses). In particular, we will try to establish the influence of the surface properties of silica and the chemical functions of the formulation additives on the mechanisms and the kinetics of the grafting reactions.

The results obtained should make it possible to rationalize the rules governing the choice of formulation and the parameters of the manufacturing process of composite materials.

Training and skills required

The candidate will have a Master degree or equivalent and will have a basic knowledge in surface physical chemistry and/or physical chemistry. He or She will implement spectroscopic characterization techniques (in particular IR) and multivariate data analysis using python and/or matlab codes. More specific skills in one of these fields will be an asset.

Location: The position is based at ENSICAEN (Caen, Normandy, France), with regular travel and stays at the Michelin Group Technology Center in Clermont-Ferrand (Ladoux, Auvergne, France).

Funding: CIFRE with the company MICHELIN

Starting date of the thesis : October 2022

Contact: Please send your CV – including the contact details of at least two references – and cover letter to :  Arnaud TRAVERT –

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