The possible use of castor oil fatty acid as an activator for the vulcanization reaction in silica-filled natural rubber (NR) compounds was investigated. The design and analysis of the experiments were carried out by keeping constant the concentration of silica and the other ingredients while the amounts of stearic acid, castor oil and poly(ethylene glycol) were varied. Cure was carried out on a TI-100 oscillating disk rheometer, and the tensile strength was chosen as the control variable. The results show that the addition of castor oil does not significantly change the mechanical performance of silica-filled natural rubber compounds.
Natural rubber; castor oil; silica; design of experiments