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Polymers 2018, 10(11), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10111216

Preparation and Characterization of Low-Molecular-Weight Natural Rubber Latex via Photodegradation Catalyzed by Nano TiO2

1
School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus, Nibong Tebal 14300, Penang, Malaysia
2
Technology and Engineering Division, Malaysian Rubber Board, Sungai Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Based Polymers for Engineered Green Materials)
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Abstract

Natural rubber is one of the most important renewable biopolymers used in many applications due to its special properties that cannot be easily mimicked by synthetic polymers. To sustain the existence of natural rubber in industries, modifications have been made to its chemical structure from time to time in order to obtain new properties and to enable it to be employed in new applications. The chemical structure of natural rubber can be modified by exposure to ultraviolet light to reduce its molecular weight. Under controlled conditions, the natural rubber chains will be broken by photodegradation to yield low-molecular-weight natural rubber. The aim of this work was to obtain what is known as liquid natural rubber via photodegradation, with titanium dioxide nanocrystals as the catalyst. Titanium dioxide, which was firstly synthesized using the sol–gel method, was confirmed to be in the form of an anatase, with a size of about 10 nm. In this work, the photodegradation was carried out in latex state and yielded low-molecular-weight natural rubber latex of less than 10,000 g/mol. The presence of hydroxyl and carbonyl groups on the liquid natural rubber (LNR) chains was observed, resulting from the breaking of the chains. Scanning electron microscopy of the NR latex particles showed that titanium dioxide nanocrystals were embedded on the latex surface, but then detached during the degradation reaction. View Full-Text
Keywords: photodegradation; liquid natural rubber; UV light; TiO2 anatase; latex state photodegradation; liquid natural rubber; UV light; TiO2 anatase; latex state
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ibrahim, S.; Othman, N.; Sreekantan, S.; Tan, K.S.; Mohd Nor, Z.; Ismail, H. Preparation and Characterization of Low-Molecular-Weight Natural Rubber Latex via Photodegradation Catalyzed by Nano TiO2. Polymers 2018, 10, 1216.

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