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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • elastomers;
  • vulcanization;
  • nanocomposites;
  • nanotechnology

Abstract

The multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) filled styrene–butadiene rubber (SBR) composites were prepared by incorporating MWCNT in a SBR/toluene solution and subsequently evaporating the solvent. These composites have shown a significant improvement in Young's modulus and tensile strength with respect to SBR gum without sacrificing high elongation at break. However, this improvement is less than expected at the higher filler content. Then, the influence of low concentrations of MWCNT on the vulcanization process of the SBR composites was studied by means of rheometer torque curves, swelling measurements, differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) analysis, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Also, their thermal degradation was studied by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). It has been noticed that MWCNT affects the cure kinetics of SBR gum matrix reducing all parameters, i.e., the total heat rate and order of the reaction, scorch delay, maximum torque, and crosslink density. This effect increases as MWCNT content does, and it was attributed to the adsorption of the accelerator employed in the vulcanization (N-tert-butyl-benzothiazole-2-sulfenamide) onto the MWCNT surface. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009