Alkanolamide as an Accelerator, Filler-dispersant and a Plasticizer in Silica-filled Natural Rubber Compounds
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A feasibility study was carried out on the utilization of Alkanolamide (ALK) on silica reinforcement of natural rubber (NR) by using a semi-efficient cure system. The ALK was incorporated into the NR compound at 1.0, 3.0, 5.0, 7.0 and 9.0 phr. An investigation was carried out to examine the effect of ALK on the cure characteristics and properties of NR compounds. It was found that ALK gave shorter scorch and cure times for silica-filled NR compounds. ALK also exhibited higher torque differences, tensile modulus, tensile strength, hardness and crosslink density of up to 5.0 phr of ALK loading, and then decreased with further increases of ALK loading. The resilience increased with increased ALK loading. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs proved that 5.0 phr of ALK in the silica-filled NR compound exhibited the greatest matrix tearing line and surface roughness due to higher reinforcement level of the silica, as well as better dispersion and cure enhancement.