• styrene–butadiene rubber;
  • carbon nanotubes;
  • superconductive carbon black;
  • nanocomposites;
  • curing properties;
  • tube model


The network structure of styrene–butadiene rubber (SBR) in the presence of carbon black (CB) with two different structures and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) was investigated. Swelling behaviour, tensile properties at various strain rates and cure kinetics were characterized. Experimental data were analysed using the Flory–Rehner model as well as the tube model theory. It is found that the network structure of CB-filled SBR follows a three-phase composite model including rigid particles, semi-rigid bound rubber and matrix rubber. This bound rubber is postulated to be critical for the mechanical and deformational properties, development of crosslinking density in matrix rubber and polymer–filler interaction. For MWCNT-filled SBR, the bound rubber does not show a substantial contribution to the network structure and mechanical performance, and these properties are greatly dominated by the higher aspect ratio and polymer–filler interaction. Additionally it is deduced that the crosslinking density of matrix rubber increases on incorporation of the fillers compared to unfilled matrix rubber. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry