Location: Plant Polymer Research
Title: Modulus enhancement of natural rubber through the dispersion size reduction of protein/fiber aggregates Author
Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2014
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Citation: Jong, L. 2014. Modulus enhancement of natural rubber through the dispersion size reduction of protein/fiber aggregates. Industrial Crops and Products. 55(1):25-32. Interpretive Summary: Natural rubber is an important material for a wide variety of applications such as machine belts, seals, hoses, gaskets, etc. However, its strength needs to be increased in order to perform under different conditions. In this development, we incorporated soy protein concentrate, a soybean product, into natural rubber to significantly increase its strength. The soy protein concentrate containing both protein and fiber was sheared in water to change its structure, which greatly enhance the strength of natural rubber. This development will create new markets for soybean products, and will be beneficial to soybean grower and processing industries.
Technical Abstract: Improved mechanical properties of natural rubber are required for various rubber applications. Aggregates of protein and fiber that constitute soy protein concentrate were shear-reduced and used to enhance the tensile modulus of natural rubber. The aqueous dispersion of the shear-reduced aggregates has a higher viscosity and shear storage modulus. The reduced aggregates in natural rubber increased the tensile modulus at higher elongations. The frequency dependent shear modulus, swelling experiments, and dynamic strain sweep experiments were used to analyze polymer-filler interactions. The result indicates polymer-filler interactions is small and is not the dominant factor that enhances the tensile properties of these composites. Instead, a higher strength of filler-filler network can explain the mechanical enhancement of this filler in the natural rubber composites.