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Keywords:

  • composites;
  • elastomer;
  • fillers;
  • particle size;
  • wood flour

Abstract

Natural rubber based composites were prepared by incorporating Wood flour of two different particle size ranges (250–300 µm) and (300–425 µm) and concentrations (15 and 30 phr) into the matrix, using a Banbury® internal mixer according to a base formulation. Curing characteristics of the samples were studied. Influence of particle size and loading of filler on the properties of the composites was analyzed. Results obtained show that the addition of wood flour to natural rubber increased scorch time and curing time and caused improvement in modulus at 300% strain and in tear properties. However, it decreased tensile strength and elongation at break. The particle size range of 300–425 µm was found to offer the best overall balance of mechanical and dynamic properties (tan δ and viscous torque). Swelling behavior of the composites in toluene was also analyzed in order to determine the rubber volume fraction and crosslinking density. Composites with the bigger particle size wood flour were found to have greater crosslinking density than the ones with smaller particle size, fact that could possibly indicate a better rubber-filler interaction in the former. Major percentage of filler increased slightly this interaction. Water absorption behavior of the composites with wood flour reached a maximum of 12% w/w when 30 phr of filler were incorporated; nonetheless, particle size did not affect this property. The ageing study in presence of air at 70 °C revealed that natural rubber composites with wood flour maintained the same classification cell with temperature as the pure rubber. A compound with 30 phr of carbon black was prepared for comparative purposes. Results obtained were as expected. Scorch time decreased and higher values of modulus at 300% strain and tensile strength were achieved, due to strongest interaction between filler and elastomer.