Molecular Diffusion of Toluene through CaCO3-Filled Natural Rubber Composites
The transport properties of liquids and gases through polymeric materials play a very important role in some areas of industrial applications. In this study, natural rubber (NR)/CaCO3 composites were prepared by melt mixing method. By equilibrium swelling test, the transport process of toluene in the prepared natural rubber composites was investigated. The diffusion and transport of toluene through calcium carbonate-filled natural rubber composites have been studied in the temperature range 25–45°C. The diffusion of toluene through these composites was studied with special reference to the effect of filler concentration and temperature. The transport coefficients such as diffusion, permeation and sorption coefficients were estimated from the swelling data. To find out the mechanism of diffusion in prepared composites, the results of swelling studies were applied to an empirical equation. In these composites, diffusion is approximately based on Fickian diffusion mechanism and by increases in temperature; diffusion mechanism is more close to Fickian mechanism. Increase of filler content in composite would result in decreased ultimate swelling and slower diffusion rate of solvent. The diffusion rate, diffusion coefficient and the permeability increased by temperature. The study of the diffusion of toluene through filled natural rubber indicated that the concentration of filler plays an important role in the diffusion, sorption and permeation coefficients. Also interfacial interactions in NR composites were checked by dynamic-mechanical analysis. The microstructure and dispersion of calcium carbonate particles in natural rubber matrix were studied by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). In general, the results of swelling tests, dynamic-mechanical analysis and FE-SEM images show that the optimized value of filler in NR composites is equal to 10 phr calcium carbonate.