Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Continuous ultrasonic treatment of uncured and sulfur cured SBR: Effect of styrene content

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Fall 2005


Unvulcanized and vulcanized SBR samples with styrene content of 18 and 23.5% were used to investigate the effect of ultrasound treatment on their structural characteristics. Gel fraction and crosslink density of gel are measured. Molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of sol are studied to determine the level of degradation of the macromolecular chain in ultrasonically treated unvulcanized and vulcanized rubbers. It is shown that the weight and number average molecular weight of sol in devulcanized SBR is, respectively, lower and higher in the samples having higher styrene content. Ultrasonic treatment of virgin unvulcanized SBR causes generation of gel along with its main chain modification due to the competition between chain scission and crosslinking. The competitive reactions taking place during this treatment are discussed. It was found that the intermolecular bonds in SBR vulcanizates containing higher styrene content are easier to break. The structural characteristics of devulcanized SBR rubber were simulated using the Dobson-Gordon theory of rubber network statistics. A fairly good agreement between experimental data and theoretical prediction on normalized gel fraction vs. normalized crosslink density was achieved. The simulation of devulcanized SBR rubber indicated that the rate of crosslink rupture is much higher than that of main chain. The styrene content in SBR rubber does not affect kp/kα substantially.



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