Microwave sensing of bulk electrical properties of tank track pad rubber

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A complex permittivity measurement system composed of a network analyzer and a open-ended coaxial waveguide has been used to evaluate the permittivity of rubber samples. The conductivity of rubber provides an indication of the dispersion of carbon black throughout the rubber matrix. The technique is based on the Deschamps antenna modeling theorem which relates the effective admittance of an antenna in some arbitrary medium to the effective admittance of the same antenna embedded in free space. This technique is well suited for material with loss tangents between 0.1 and 1.0. Only material within a radius on the order of the outer conductor radius of the coaxial waveguide is interrogated. Inferred permittivity measurements for rubber samples are presented. An APC-7 connector is used as the transducer which provides a means for convenient calibration because standard calibration terminations can be used. The amount of pressure from the sample applied to the waveguide affects reflection coefficient measurements, preventing consistent results.