Submitted to: Journal of Elastomers and Plastics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2015
Publication Date: 3/9/2015
Citation: Kim, S., Adkins, J., Biswas, A. 2015. Fabrication of latex rubber reinforced with micellar nanoparticle as an interface modifier. Journal of Elastomers and Plastics. 48(4):317-330. doi: 10.1177/0095244315576242.
Interpretive Summary: About 70% of the current rubber products are manufactured from synthetic latex, which is a dispersion of fine polymer particles suspended in aqueous medium. The production of rubber products begins with forming sheets of rubber from latex suspension. The goal of this research is to reinforce the rubber products by incorporating additives at this stage. In this report, it is shown that the mechanical properties of latex rubber are greatly improved by mixing latex with nanoparticles during the fabrication process. The employed nanoparticles are made from a wheat protein and a biodegradable synthetic polymer, and their sizes are in the vicinity of one ten thousandth of a millimeter. With the inclusion of only 2% of nanoparticles, the mechanical properties of fabricated rubbers are improved by 30% to 300%. This improvement is found to be due to the modification of the latex surface by the incorporated nanoparticles. This research would impact the rubber processing industries that develop rubber products with improved mechanical properties. Rubber products such as belts and bands can be produced with improved properties. Scientists in academia developing improved rubber products would also benefit.
Technical Abstract: Reinforced latex rubbers were fabricated by incorporating small amount of nanoparticles as interface modifier. The rubbers were fabricated in a compression mold at 130°C. The incorporated nanoparticles were prepared from wheat protein (gliadin) and ethyl cyanoacrylate (ECA). These nanoparticles were disintegrated to the constituent amphiphilic block copolymers while mixing with latex suspension, and adsorbed on the surface of latex particles. The disintegration of nanoparticles and adsorption of the constituent amphiphilic block copolymers on the surface of latex particles were investigated by using Dynamic Light Scattering. The improved mechanical properties of the produced reinforced latex rubbers were characterized by mechanical analysis (stress-strain) and hardness test. Incorporation of nanoparticle into latex improved most of the mechanical properties, such as tensile strength, % elongation, energy at break, and toughness by 30% to 300%. On the other hand, tensile modulus and hardness were not much affected by the incorporation of nanoparticles. This research showed that the optimum percentage of nanoparticle is 2%, and the optimum gliadin:ECA weight ratio is 3:1.