Characterization on the Thermal Oxidation of Raw Natural Rubber Thin Film using Image and FT-IR Analysis

  • Received : 2020.02.05
  • Accepted : 2020.02.17
  • Published : 2020.03.31


In this study, the thermal oxidation of raw natural rubber (NR) was investigated under controlled conditions by optical image and fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis. The thermal oxidation was performed on a transparent thin film of raw NR coated on a KBr window in a dark chamber at 80℃ under low humidity conditions to completely exclude moisture and restrict light oxidation. Images of the thin film of raw NR were obtained before and after thermal oxidation. FT-IR absorption spectra were measured in the transmission mode at different thermal exposure times. The thermal oxidation of NR was examined by the changes in the absorption peaks at 3449, 1736, 1447, 1377, 1242, 1072, and 833 cm-1, which corresponded to a hydroxyl group (-OH), a carbonyl group (-C=O) from an aldehyde and a ketone, a methylene group (-CH2-), a methyl group (-CH3), a carbon-oxygen single bond (-C-O) from an epoxide, a carbon-oxygen bond (-C-O) from an ether, an alcohol, a peroxide, or a cyclic peroxide, and a cis-methine group (cis-CCH3=CH-), respectively. In the initial stage of thermal oxidation, two different types of free radicals were produced quickly and randomly by the homolytic cleavage of a double bond and allylic hydrogen abstraction. Aldehydes and ketones were formed from chain scissions of the double bonds and alcohols were produced from allylic hydrogen abstraction at the methylene or methyl groups. Two reactions seemed to proceed competitively with each other. At a later stage, oxidative crosslinks seemed to dominate through the combination of free radicals such as an allyl radical (CH=CHCH2·), alkoxy radical (RO·), and peroxy radical (ROO·) and the reaction of a hydroperoxide (-ROOH) with a double bond. The image obtained after thermal oxidation showed hardening without cracks. Based on these observations, a plausible two-step mechanism was suggested for chain hardening caused by the thermal oxidation.


Supported by : Aero Technology Research Institute (ATRI)


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