EPDM rubber was reinforced with titania in situ generated by using a nonhydrolytic sol-gel (NHSG) process starting from TiCl4 as titania precursor and tert-butanol as oxygen donor. Titania particles in anatase form and with average diameter of 6 nm were synthesized via NHSG route and then the same procedure was adopted in presence of EPDM rubber to obtain composites containing up to 30 wt% of filler. Extraction and equilibrium swelling tests suggested an interfering effect of the NHSG reaction on the vulcanization process of the rubber resulting to a crosslink density which decreased in the presence of titania. Quasistatic and dynamic-mechanical characterizations indicated that the presence of titania as rigid filler in both the unvulcanized and vulcanized EPDM matrix led to a significant increase in stiffness and stress at break. The experimental values of modulus were systematically higher than the values predicted by classical equations suggesting an additional stiffening contribution deriving from the molecular interaction between the rubber and the filler.
EPDM rubber reinforced with titania generated by nonhydrolytic sol-gel process / Paderni, Katia; Morselli, Davide; Bondioli, Federica; Luyt, Adriaan S.; Mokhothu, Thabang H.; Messori, Massimo. - In: POLYMER ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE. - ISSN 0032-3888. - 54:(2014), pp. 2544-2552. [10.1002/pen.23805]