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Using a silanized silica nanofiller to reduce excessive amount of rubber curatives in styrene-butadiene rubber



In recent years, the rubber industry has come under pressure to improve health and safety at work, minimize damage to the environment, reduce costs, and increase competitiveness. Rubber compounds contain additives including curing chemicals, which are hazardous and harmful. Reducing their use or eliminating them altogether will be beneficial to rubber compounders and manufacturers of rubber articles. A styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) was cured and reinforced with a high loading of precipitated amorphous white silica nanofiller. The silica surfaces were pretreated with bis(3-triethoxysilylpropyl) tetrasulfide (TESPT), which is a sulfur-bearing bifunctional organosilane to chemically adhere silica to the rubber. The chemical bonding between the filler and rubber was optimized via the tetrasulfane groups of TESPT by adding accelerator and activator. The rubbers were subsequently cured and their hardness, tensile strength, elongation at break, stored energy density at break, tearing energy, tensile modulus, Young's modulus, and bound rubber content were measured. This study showed that using the filler in combination with a sulfur-donor accelerator was the most efficient method for curing and reinforcing the rubber. This led to a significant reduction in the use of the curing chemicals, a faster curing cycle, and very good mechanical properties for the rubber vulcanizate. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011