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Keywords:

  • recycling;
  • rubber;
  • polyolefins

ABSTRACT

The devulcanization reaction of styrene–butadiene rubber (SBR) based ground tire rubber (GTR) in GTR/ethylene–propylene–diene monomer rubber (EPDM) blend was investigated through a compound-induced reaction by increasing screw rotation speed and being in the presence of subcritical water. The effects of temperature, pressure, screw rotation speed, or promoting agents on the gel content, Mooney viscosity, and Fourier transform infrared spectra of the sol of the devulcanized blends (devulcanized ground tire rubber (DGTR)/EPDM) were measured, and the mechanical properties and microstructures of the revulcanized blend ((DGTR/EPDM)/SBR) were characterized. The results show that subcritical water as a swelling agent and reaction medium promotes the devulcanization reaction, increases the selectivity of the crosslink breakage, keeps the extrusion material from oxidative degradation, reduces the gel particle size of the devulcanized blends, and significantly improves the mechanical properties of the revulcanized SBR/(DGTR/EPDM) blends. In subcritical water, the suitable promoting agents (alkylphenol polysulfide 450, hydrogen peroxide H2O2, or 450/H2O2) accelerate the devulcanization reaction, keep the double bond content, and lead to further decrease of the gel content and Mooney viscosity of the devulcanized blends and further increase of the mechanical properties of the revulcanized SBR/(DGTR/EPDM) blends. Especially the compound promoting agent (450/H2O2) improves the selectivity of the crosslink breakage in devulcanization of SBR-based GTR. When 450/H2O2 is added as a compound promoting agent at the best reaction condition in subcritical water (200°C, 1.6 MPa and 1000 rpm), the tensile strength and elongation at break of the revulcanized SBR/(DGTR/EPDM) blends reach to 85.4% and 201% of vulcanized SBR (24.0 MPa, 356%), respectively. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 1845–1854, 2013