Graphene nanoplatelets as a substitute for carbon black in rubber compounds: evaluation of the reinforcement characteristics of the two nanofillers within a nitrile butadiene rubber matrix
Most application-oriented rubber compounds use carbon black (CB) as a reinforcing filler. However, since the discovery of graphene, the use of graphene-related materials such as graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) for the production of composites has attracted the attention of both industry and academia. In this work, we evaluated the reinforcement characteristics of both CB and GNPs within a nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) matrix. The use of GNPs has proven to be beneficial in terms of processing and the ultimate physicochemical properties, compared to CB. The tensile and tear properties of NBR after compounding with GNPs were enhanced to a larger extent compared to carbon black, while the curing times were smaller and the scorch times longer, indicating the advantages of GNPs during processing. Overall, the inherent properties of GNPs along with their geometrical characteristics lead to the production of high-performing, multifunctional rubber compounds that can replace their CB-filled counterparts and that can eventually be used in advanced applications.