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Title: Reinforcement of Natural Rubber Latex Using Jute Carboxycellulose Nanofibers Extracted Using Nitro-Oxidation Method
Synthetic rubber produced from nonrenewable fossil fuel requires high energy costs and is dependent on the presumed unstable petroleum price. Natural rubber latex (NRL) is one of the major alternative sustainable rubber sources since it is derived from the plant ‘Hevea brasiliensis’. Our study focuses on integrating sustainably processed carboxycellulose nanofibers from untreated jute biomass into NRL to enhance the mechanical strength of the material for various applications. The carboxycellulose nanofibers (NOCNF) having carboxyl content of 0.94 mmol/g was prepared and integrated into its nonionic form (–COONa) for its higher dispersion in water to increase the interfacial interaction between NRL and NOCNF. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analyses of NOCNF showed the average dimensions of nanofibers were length (L) = 524 ± 203 nm, diameter (D) 7 ± 2 nm and thickness 2.9 nm. Furthermore, fourier transform infra-red spectrometry (FTIR) analysis of NOCNF depicted the presence of carboxyl group. However, the dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurement of NRL demonstrated an effective diameter in the range of 643 nm with polydispersity of 0.005. Tensile mechanical strengths were tested to observe the enhancement effects at various concentrations of NOCNF in the NRL. Mechanical properties of NRL/NOCNF films were determined by tensile testing, where the results showed an increasing trend of enhancement. With the increasing NOCNF concentration, the film modulus was found to increase quite substantially, but the elongation-to-break ratio decreased drastically. The presence of NOCNF changed the NRL film from elastic to brittle. However, at the NOCNF overlap concentration (0.2 wt. %), the film modulus seemed to be the highest.  more » « less
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