This paper presents the experimental results obtained after incorporating the recovered Carbon Black (rCB) produced in an industrial-scale waste tire pyrolysis plant into a Natural Rubber (NR) formulation. The purpose of this study is to increase the technical knowledge on the use of rCB as a sustainable raw material in the rubber industry. The rCB and virgin Carbon Black (vCB) (ref. N550) under study were characterized using elemental and proximate analyses, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used, and different measures, including the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area (SBET), particle size distribution (PSD), specific gravity, and pH, were estimated. The effect of rCB incorporation on the rheological, thermal, structural, and mechanical properties of the NR composites was assessed and compared to those obtained with vCB alone. The NR composites were prepared using different loads of vCB (20, 30, 40, and 50 phr), which was also replaced with rCB at different proportions (0, 50, and 100%). According to the characterization results, rCB offers lower reinforcement properties than vCB, which is attributable to its higher volatile matter and ash contents, higher apparent PSD, lower presence of acidic functional groups, and lower SBET. Despite this, interesting performances can be achieved when rCB is partially incorporated into the formulations or by increasing its load in the composites. For instance, when 50% of vCB was replaced with rCB, the values of the aforementioned properties were found to be between those obtained with the NR composites prepared with vCB and rCB. In addition, when increasing the rCB loading, some properties matched the behavior exhibited by vCB alone, thus compensating for the low reinforcement properties of rCB. These results are expected to provide an important impetus to move towards circular economy strategies having very positive impacts from the sustainable perspective.
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