Influence of epoxidized natural rubber on the phase structure and toughening behavior of biocarbon reinforced nylon 6 biocomposites
Key drivers for automotive material applications require light weight and sustainable materials. This paper reports the engineering properties of hybrid nylon biocomposites as a possible replacement for some currently used filled nylon systems in the automotive industry. Nylon reinforced with 20 wt% of biocarbon showed tensile and flexural strengths superior to that of neat nylon by 19.5 and 31% respectively. However, the addition of biocarbon had a detrimental effect on its impact strength and elongation at break. Therefore, epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) was incorporated at low concentrations as an impact modifier due to its compatibility with nylon. An increase in impact strength of 55% was observed even in the presence of 20 wt% biocarbon when 7 phr of ENR was incorporated. The encapsulation of some of the biocarbon particles by the ENR increased the absorbance of the impact energy as a result as observed from the morphological analysis of the microstructure of the biocomposites. However, the tensile and flexural strengths showed a relatively marginal decrease due to the presence of ENR at the interface of nylon and biocarbon. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic (FTIR) analysis revealed possible interactions/compatibility of ENR with nylon and biocarbon.