An Application of High-Power Ultrasound to Rubber Recycling

  • Hong, Chang-Kook (Department of Chemical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials, University of Delaware) ;
  • Isayev, A.I. (Institute of Polymer Engineering, The University of Akron)
  • Published : 2003.06.30

Abstract

The application of powerful ultrasound to rubber recycling is a very recent field of study. An ultrasonic field creates high frequency extension-contraction stresses by acoustic cavitation. The breakdown of rubber network occurs primarily around pulsating cavities due to the highest level of strain produced by high-power ultrasound. Stronger reductions of cross-link density were observed at a higher pressure, indicating an important role of pressure during ultrasonic recycling. Visible bubbles were observed during ultrasonic treatment as a proof of acoustic cavitation. Shearing effect has a significant influence on improving the efficiency of ultrasonic treatment. After the ultrasonic treatment, the cross-link densities of NR/SBR blends were lower than those of NR and SBR due to the reduced degree of unsaturation and chemical reactions. Carbon black fillers increase the probability of bond scission during ultrasonic treatment, due to the restricted mobility. The mechanical properties of ground tire rubber (GRT)/HDPE blends were improved by ultrasonic treatment and dynamic revulcanization. Ultrasonic treatment of GRT in the presence of HDPE matrix was found to give better mechanical properties due to the chemical reactions between rubber and plastic phases.

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