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Keywords:

  • elastomeric nanocomposites;
  • epoxidized natural rubber;
  • polymer–carbon nanotube interactions;
  • vulcanization;
  • mechanical properties;
  • electrical properties

Abstract

We describe the preparation, characterization and physical properties of multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)-filled epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) composites. To ensure better dispersion in the elastomer matrix, the MWCNTs were initially subjected to aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APS) treatment to bind amine functional groups (−NH2) on the nanotube surface. Successful grafting of APS on the MWCNT surface through Si–O–C linkages was confirmed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Grafting of APS on the MWCNT surface was further corroborated using elemental analysis. ENR nanocomposites with various filler loadings were prepared by melt compounding to generate pristine and APS-modified MWCNT-filled elastomeric systems. Furthermore, we determined the effects of various filler loadings on the rheometric, mechanical, electrical and thermal degradation properties of the resultant composite materials. Rheometric cure characterization revealed that the torque difference increased with pristine MWCNT loading compared to the gum system, and this effect was more pronounced when silane-functionalized MWCNTs were loaded, indicating that this effect was due to an increase in polymer–carbon nanotube interactions in the MWCNT-loaded materials. Loading of silane-functionalized MWCNTs in the ENR matrix resulted in a significant improvement in the mechanical, electrical and thermal degradation properties of the composite materials, when compared to gum or pristine MWCNT-loaded materials.© 2013 Society of Chemical Industry