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Step-strain stress relaxation of carbon black-loaded natural rubber vulcanizates



Step-strain stress relaxation experiments were performed on natural rubber vulcanizates of various carbon black (HAF) concentrations by subjecting the samples to a very rapid strain and fixing its length at the deformed state. Time–temperature superposition in the viscoelastic region was evaluated to investigate the effect of temperature on the relaxation times of the rubbery composites. Remarkably, it was observed that, at higher HAF concentrations, increasing the temperature had a lesser effect on decreasing the overall stress values. That was attributed to the lower number of elastomeric chains per unit volume due to the agglomeration of the carbon black particles. The energy barrier resulting from the adsorption of the rubbery chains on the filler particles was insufficient to drastically reduce the diffusion and rearrangement of the polymer chains. The activation energy of the rubber-like deformation calculated from the time–temperature superposition was shown to be independent of temperature. Interestingly, the viscosity coefficients showed a large increase with a modest addition of the carbon black. This is due to the long-range nature of the temporary bonds formed between the polymer molecules and the surface-active carbon black. The stress–strain of the rubbery composites was shown to behave in a Gaussian manner in accordance with the Mooney–Rivlin relationship. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 3387–3393, 2004

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