Characterization Study of Cambodian Natural Rubber and Clay Composites for Shock Absorption Floor Mat
    1. Faculty of Geo-resources and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, Russian Federation Blvd., P.O. Box86, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Received: October 03,2022 / Revised: Accepted: April 25,2023 / Published: December 31,2023

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 Natural rubber is a polymeric material composed of hydrocarbon chains possessing high flexibility and green strength making them suitable for various applications including automotives tires, construction materials, and as floor protective materials etc. Special properties of rubber are obtained from compounding with various ingredients one of which is inorganic fillers including carbon black, silica, and clay minerals. The concept of processing techniques and optimization approaches has been studied for years but very few has explored the raw materials from Cambodia. In this work, the Cambodian natural rubber and clay filler from a local source will be studied for their combined characteristics as rubber composites for shock absorption floor mat application. The composites samples were produced via the conventional vulcanization system, incorporating clay filler at variation of 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 part per hundred rubber (phr), and were analyzed on the physical, mechanical and impact properties, and morphology. The results showed that clay loadings at particle size range from 0.031 to 24.133 micrometer had trivial effects on rubber in terms of hardness and elongation at break. The swelling percentage has dropped significantly at high clay loading, reflecting an increase in cross link density whereas rebound resilience received deteriorating effect from clay loadings due to partial distribution of micro-size clay particles. The tensile strength value of composites at clay loading 20 phr was reduced about 30% compared to the unfilled compound. The results were confirmed by the Scanning Electron Microscopic graphs showing filler pull-outs at tensile fracture surface as well as voids and some agglomerates acting as stress factors. However, rubber composites at 10 phr clay loadings showed superior properties on abrasion resistance index, at 15% higher than both the unfilled compound and composites at 20 phr whereas the impact energy absorption was about 10% higher. Compared to two types of commercial floor mats, the compounded composites showed superior performance in tensile properties and impact absorption ability.