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Preparation and characterization of EPDM rubber modified with in situ generated silica

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Abstract

This article is concerned with the preparation of a filled elastomer by means the nonconventional bottom-up approach to polymer composites, alternatively with the conventional mechanical compounding of preformed filler particles with rubber. EPDM rubber was modified with in situ generated silica particles prepared by means of a sol–gel process adopting a solution process. The used synthetic procedure permitted the preparation of highly filled rubbers (up to 40 wt % of silica) with silica particle dimensions ranging from 0.2 to 2 μm. Equilibrium swelling and extraction tests indicated a hindering effect of the presence of in situ generated silica on the vulcanization process which reduced the cross linking degree of the rubber matrix. Both tensile tests and dynamic–mechanical analysis showed a significant improvement in the mechanical properties due to the presence of the reinforcing filler, with an enhancement more significant than that expected from a simple hydrodynamic reinforcing mechanism. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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