Indexed on: 02 Mar '18Published on: 21 Dec '17Published in: Polymers
The study of preparing silica/rubber composites used in tires with low rolling resistance in an energy-saving method is fast-growing. In this study, a novel strategy is proposed, in which silica was modified by combing alcohol polyoxyethylene ether (AEO) and 3-mercaptopropyltriethoxysilane (K-MEPTS) for preparing silica/natural rubber (NR) master batches. A thermal gravimetric analyzer and Raman spectroscopy results indicated that both AEO and K-MEPTS could be grafted on to the silica surface, and AEO has a chance to shield the mercaptopropyl group on K-MEPTS. Silica modified by AEO and K-MEPTS together was completely co-coagulated with the rubber in preparing silica/NR composites using the latex compounding method with the help of the interaction between AEO and K-MEPTS. The performance of composites prepared by silica/NR master batches was investigated by a rubber process analyzer (RPA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and a tensile tester. These results demonstrate that AEO forms a physical interface between silica and rubber, resulting in good silica dispersion in the matrix. K-MEPTS forms a chemical interface between silica and rubber, enhancing the reinforcing effect of silica and reducing the mutual friction between silica particles. In summary, using a proper combination of AEO and K-MEPTS is a user-friendly approach for preparing silica/NR composites with excellent performance.