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Polymers 2018, 10(8), 870;

Sulfur/Organic Copolymers as Curing Agents for Rubber

Institute of Polymer and Dye Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, Lodz University of Technology, 90-924 Lodz, Poland
Department of Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3), Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 5 August 2018
PDF [3561 KB, uploaded 5 August 2018]


It is widely acknowledged that waste sulfur generated from the petroleum industry creates huge storage and ecological problems. Therefore, the various methods of utilization are becoming increasingly attractive research topics worldwide. The thermal ability of elemental sulfur to homolytic cleavage of S8 rings enables its free radical copolymerization with unsaturated organic species and the obtaining of chemically stable polymeric materials. Here we report a novel possibility to use sulfur/organic copolymers obtained via “inverse vulcanization” as curatives for rubber. For this purpose, several various sulfur/organic copolymers were synthesized and analyzed from the point of view of their performance as rubber crosslinking agents. Solvent extraction was used to purify sulfur/organic copolymers from unreacted (elemental) sulfur. Thermal properties of the prepared copolymers were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry (TGA–DSC). Crosslink density and structure of cured elastomers was studied by equilibrium swelling, thiol-amine analysis and freezing point depression. Mechanical properties of the vulcanizates were determined under static and dynamic conditions (DMA—dynamic mechanical analysis). It is proved that the utilization of sulfur/organic copolymers as curatives enables an effective crosslinking process of rubbers. Taking into account the results of a crosslink density analysis and mechanical properties of the vulcanizates cured with purified copolymers, it is evident that relatively long copolymer macromolecules are also involved in the formation of chemical bonds between unsaturated rubber macromolecules. View Full-Text
Keywords: sulfur; sulfur polymers; inverse vulcanization; elastomer; rubber; curatives; crosslinking; crosslink density; freezing point depression sulfur; sulfur polymers; inverse vulcanization; elastomer; rubber; curatives; crosslinking; crosslink density; freezing point depression

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Wręczycki, J.; Bieliński, D.M.; Anyszka, R. Sulfur/Organic Copolymers as Curing Agents for Rubber. Polymers 2018, 10, 870.

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