News Release

Understanding the dynamic behavior of rubber materials

Researchers present a novel experimental system for simultaneous measurement of dynamic mechanical properties and X-ray computed tomography

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Waseda University

Experimental setup for the simultaneous measurement of dynamic mechanical properties and dynamic micro X-ray CT.


This novel system can elucidate the microstructure of rubber-like materials under dynamic conditions, enhancing our understanding of their dynamic behavior and paving the way for improved novel materials.

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Credit: Masami Matsubara from Waseda University

Rubber-like materials, commonly used in dampeners, possess a unique property known as dynamic viscoelasticity, enabling them to convert mechanical energy from vibrations into heat while exhibiting spring-like and flow-like behaviors simultaneously. Customization of these materials is possible by blending them with compounds of specific molecular structures, depending on the dynamic viscosity requirements.

However, the underlying mechanisms behind the distinct mechanical properties of these materials remain unclear. A primary reason for this knowledge gap has been the absence of a comprehensive system capable of simultaneously measuring the mechanical properties and observing the microstructural dynamics of these materials. While X-ray computed tomography (CT) has recently emerged as a promising option for a non-destructive inspection of the internal structure of materials down to nano-scale resolutions, it is not suited for observation under dynamic conditions.

Against this backdrop, a team of researchers, led by Associate Professor (tenure-track) Masami Matsubara from the School of Creative Science and Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering at Waseda University in Japan, has now developed an innovative system that can conduct dynamic mechanical analysis and dynamic micro X-ray CT imaging simultaneously. Their study was made available online on October 19, 2023 and will be published in Volume 205 of the journal Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing on December 15, 2023.

"By integrating X-ray CT imaging performed at the large synchrotron radiation facility Spring-8(BL20XU) and mechanical analysis under dynamic conditions, we can elucidate the relationship between a material's internal structure, its dynamic behavior, and its damping properties," explains Dr. Matsubara. At the core of this novel system is the dynamic micro X-ray CT and a specially designed compact shaker developed by the team that is capable of precise adjustment of vibration amplitude and frequency.

The team utilized this innovative system to investigate the distinctions between styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) and natural rubber (NR), as well as to explore how the shape and size of ZnO particles influence the dynamic behavior of SBR composites.

The researchers conducted dynamic micro X-ray CT scans on these materials, rotating them during imaging while simultaneously subjecting them to vibrations from the shaker. They then developed histograms of local strain amplitudes by utilizing the local strains extracted from the 3D reconstructed images of the materials’ internal structures. These histograms, in conjunction with the materials' loss factor, a measure of the inherent damping of a material, were analyzed to understand their dynamic behavior.

When comparing materials SBR and NR, which have significantly different loss factors, the team found no discernible differences between their local strain amplitude histograms. However, the histograms displayed wider strain distributions in the presence of composite particles like ZnO. This suggests that strain within these materials is non-uniform and depends on the shape and size of the particles, which may have masked any changes from the addition of the particles.

This technology can allow us to study the microstructure of rubber and rubber-like materials under dynamic conditions and can result in the development of fuel-efficient rubber tires or gloves that do not deteriorate. Moreover, this technology can also enable the dynamic X-ray CT imaging of living organs that repeatedly deform, such as the heart, and can even pave the way for the development of artificial organs,” says Dr. Matsubara, highlighting the importance of this study.

Overall, this breakthrough technology has the potential to advance the understanding of the microstructure of viscoelastic materials, likely opening the doors for the development of novel materials with improved properties.






Authors: Masami Matsubara1, Ryo Takara2, Taichi Komatsu2, Shogo Furuta2, Khoo Pei Loon2, Masakazu Kobayashi2, Hitomu Mushiaki3, Kentaro Uesugi4, Shozo Kawamura2, and Daiki Tajiri2


1Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University

2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology

3Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Technology

4Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute



About Waseda University

Located in the heart of Tokyo, Waseda University is a leading private research university that has long been dedicated to academic excellence, innovative research, and civic engagement at both the local and global levels since 1882. The University has produced many changemakers in its history, including nine prime ministers and many leaders in business, science and technology, literature, sports, and film. Waseda has strong collaborations with overseas research institutions and is committed to advancing cutting-edge research and developing leaders who can contribute to the resolution of complex, global social issues. The University has set a target of achieving a zero-carbon campus by 2032, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. 

To learn more about Waseda University, visit


About Associate Professor Masami Matsubara

Masami Matsubara is an Associate Professor (tenure-track) at the School of Creative Science and Engineering of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, Japan. He earned his Ph.D. from Doshisha University. His research focuses on the mechanics of materials, mechatronics, and dynamic modelling. He has recently worked on vibration reduction methods and dynamic design for large-scale numerical analysis models and detailed design and experimental methods for component and unit testing. He is a member of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) and SAE International. He received the JSME Medal for Outstanding Paper in 2014, 2020, and 2022.

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