Mechanical Reinforcement of Natural Rubber Latex with Cellulose Nanofibers from Triodia Pungens
The results showed that the incorporation of NaOH-CNF and CCU-CNF into NR latex at loadings in the range of 0.1-0.5 wt.% demonstrated enhancement in tensile strength compared to the blank NR, without compromising compliance or elasticity. The tensile strength of nanocomposites reinforced with 0.5 wt.% NaOH-CNF, which had a high content of lignin, and 0.1 wt.% CCU-CNF were enhanced 11% (27 MPa) and 17% (28.4 MPa), respectively. The glass transition temperature and storage modulus of these nanocomposites also remained unchanged, as determined by DSC and DMA. A further study using B-CNF showed a decrease in nanocomposite tensile strength, however; these formulations demonstrated less stiffness and better mechanical properties compared to NR/M-CNF, which is thought to be associated with a higher hemicellulose content (43 wt.%) in B-CNF. The outcomes of this study reveal that the presence of lignin and hemicellulose in CNFs, in combination with further chemical surface modification, can positively influence adhesion and dispersion of CNFs in NR host polymers leading to attractive property profiles.