Photodegradable styrene–butadiene rubber (SBR)/TiO2 nanocomposites were prepared by a colloidal route through the simple mixing of a commercial polymer latex and synthetic anatase nanoparticles. Stable colloids of pure anatase TiO2 nanoparticles with an average diameter of 7 nm were prepared by a solvothermal route from the hydrolysis of titanium alkoxide by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of oleic acid. The photocatalytic degradation of the SBR–TiO2 nanocomposites was carried out in ambient air at room temperature under a UV lamp and was monitored by Fourier transform infrared and UV–visible spectroscopies and differential scanning calorimetry. The results show that the SBR–TiO2 nanocomposites were photocatalytically degraded under UV light, which indicate that the butadiene chains in the nanocomposite were oxidized during UV irradiation. Thermal analysis measurements indicated that crosslinking reactions occurred. The presence of anatase TiO2 nanoparticles was found to accelerate the photocatalytic process, and the degradation mechanism was similar to that of the pure SBR polymer. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009
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