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CHAPTER 16

Natural Rubber Blends with Biopolymers

The mechanical properties of biopolymers, such as polyesters, polysaccharides and proteins, can pose issues that need to be overcome. These issues are stiffness, brittleness, poor elongation to break and relatively high cost. Whereas, natural rubber exhibits a unique combination of toughness, flexibility, biocompatibility and biodegradability that together with its low cost makes it an ideal candidate to overcome the drawbacks of the above-mentioned biopolymers. However biopolymers/natural rubber blends normally do not lead to miscible systems, alternative approaches have been used to establish some compatibility between them, in an attempt to create ‘new’ materials with advanced functionalities. For instance, in situ reactive blend is sometimes a good alternative to improve compatibility or the use of a third polymer as a compatibilizer. It is also possible to use both aforementioned alternatives, i.e. combination of reactive blending with compatibilizers, the choice being guided by the system and the biopolymer used. This chapter is designed to provide an overview of the state of the art of blends between natural rubber and biopolymers. The preparation or processing of the blends and the structure–property relationship are emphasized, as well as their industrial applications.

Print publication date: 05 Dec 2013
Copyright year: 2014
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-610-7
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-764-7
From the book series:
Polymer Chemistry Series