Variant concentrations of ceramic fibers (CerFs) were incorporated into acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) to fabricate elastomeric ablative composites for ultrahigh temperature applications. The CerFs introduction into the polymer matrix has enhanced the ablation resistance up to 59% and successfully reduced the backface temperature of the polymer composite up to 110oC during the ultrahigh temperature ablation investigation. Thermal decomposition of the polymer composites was diminished up to 10% with increasing fiber concentration in the rubber matrix. Thermal conductivity was reduced equal to 63% while thermal impedance was enhanced up to 84% with the utmost fiber incorporation into the NBR matrix. The CerFs have adversely affected the mechanical properties of NBR matrix due to their brittle/inert nature and weak interface bonding with the host matrix. Scanning electron microscopy along with the energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy was used to examine the ablated specimens and the fiber dispersion within the host matrix. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 4392–4400, 2013
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