Polymer Engineering Faculty Research

Title

CONTINUOUS ULTRASOUND DEVULCANIZATION: COMPARISON OF SYNTHETIC ISOPRENE AND NATURAL RUBBERS

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2005

Abstract

Sulfur-cured vulcanizates of unfilled synthetic isoprene rubber (IR) were prepared and successfully devulcanized in a continuous co-axial ultrasonic reactor. Die pressure characteristics and ultrasonic power consumptions were measured. Network structures of the virgin vulcanizates, devulcanizates and revulcanizates were characterized by gel fraction and crosslink density according to the classic swelling method. The molecular characteristics of the sol generated by ultrasound treatment were determined by GPC. Kinetics of revulcanization, rheological properties of the devulcanizates and mechanical properties of the revulcanizates were compared with those of virgin uncured IR and their vulcanizates. In addition, a comparison of the cure behavior, devulcanization characteristics, network structures and the mechanical properties was made between IR and the natural rubber (NR) reported earlier. Simulations on the correlation of the normalized gel fraction and the normalized crosslink density show that these two rubbers have almost equivalent probability of main chain scission and crosslink rupture ratio, which is probably determined by the main chain structure of both rubbers consisting of cis-1,4-isoprene.