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    This study aims at evaluating the reinforcement of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) in epoxidized natural rubber (ENR). Both CNCs and maleic anhydride-modified CNCs (M-CNCs) were prepared from Napier grass stems and characterized by various techniques (e.g., TEM, FTIR, TGA, etc.). They were incorporated into ENR latex at various loadings prior to casting, and then curing by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Mechanical properties of the ENR vulcanizates were finally investigated. Results revealed that the prepared CNCs had an average diameter and length of 5 nm and 428 nm, respectively. After modification, M-CNCs contained double bonds in maleate units, which could react with ENR to form covalent bonds under UV irradiation through a proposed mechanism. Regardless of the filler type, mechanical properties including hardness, modulus, and tensile strength, increased considerably with increasing filler loading. At the same filler loading, M-CNCs exhibited greater reinforcement than CNCs due to the enhanced rubber-filler interaction. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Oranooch Somseemee, Pongdhorn Saeoui, Florian T Schevenels, Chomsri Siriwong. Enhanced interfacial interaction between modified cellulose nanocrystals and epoxidized natural rubber via ultraviolet irradiation. Scientific reports. 2022 Apr 23;12(1):6682

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    PMID: 35461316

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