EFFECTS OF CHEMICALLY TREATED AND CARBONIZED SPEAR GRASS FIBRE ON THE CURING AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF NATURAL RUBBER VULCANIZATES
Keywords:Spear Grass Fibre, Natural Rubber, Chemical Treatments, Cure Characteristics, Mechanical Properties, Carbonization
Effects of chemically treated and carbonized spear grass fibre on the curing and mechanical properties of natural rubber vulcanizates were carried out. Natural rubber (NR) was filled with carbonized (at carbonization temperatures of 400°C, 600°C and 800°C respectively) and chemically treated (treatment with HCl and NaOH of 5% concentration) spear grass fillers respectively, at a filler loading of 30phr. The rubber compounding was carried out in a bambury mixer. The effect of carbonization temperature and chemical treatment of the filler on the mechanical properties (tensile strength, % elongation, hardness strength, abrasion resistance and compression set) and rheological properties (cure time, scorch time, maximum and minimum torque) were carried out on the samples. The results of the mechanical properties of carbonized spear grass fibre (C-SGF) filled vulcanizates show that the optimum carbonization temperature for an improved tensile strength, % elongation, hardness, abrasion and compression set was obtained at 400°C. NaOH treated fibre filled vulcanizates showed better mechanical properties; with the highest abrasion resistance of 67.65%, while untreated and acidified fibre filled vulcanizates showed poor mechanical properties. Acidified (HCl) uncarbonized spear grass fibre (U-SGF) filled vulcanizate had the highest compression set of 48% against C-SGF filled vulcanzates and carbon black filled vulcanizate, with carbon black filled vulcanizate having 47% as its compression set value. This reveals that at a carbonization temperature of 400°C, C-SGF appears to be a potential substitute filler for carbon black (CB).
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