Journal of polymer science part b-polymer physics vol:38 issue:16 pages:2189-2211
The morphology and mechanical and viscoelastic properties of a series of blends of natural rubber (NR) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) latex blends were studied in the uncrosslinked and crosslinked state. The morphology of the NR/SBR blends was analyzed using a scanning electron microscope. The morphology of the blends indicated a two phase structure in which SBR is dispersed as domains in the continuous NR matrix when its content is less than 50%. A cocontinuous morphology was obtained at a 50/50 NR/SBR ratio and phase inversion was seen beyond 50% SBR when NR formed the dispersed phase. The mechanical properties of the blends were studied with special reference to the effect of the blend ratio, surface active agents, vulcanizing system, and time for prevulcanization. As the NR content and time of prevulcanization increased, the mechanical properties such as the tensile strength, modulus, elongation at break, and hardness increased. This was due to the increased degree of crosslinking that leads to the strengthening of the 3-dimensional network. In most cases the tear strength values increased as the prevulcanization time increased. The mechanical data were compared with theoretical predictions. The effects of the blend ratio and prevulcanization on the dynamic mechanical properties of the blends were investigated at different temperatures and frequencies. All the blends showed two distinct glass-transition temperatures, indicating that the system is immiscible. It was also found that the glass-transition temperatures of vulcanized blends are higher than those of unvulcanized blends. The time-temperature superposition and Cole-Cole analysis were made to understand the phase behavior of the blends. The tensile and tear fracture surfaces were examined by a scanning electron microscope to gain an insight into the failure mechanism. (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.