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Title: The development of novel sustainable carbonaceous materials as substitutes for carbon black in rubber-based products
Author: Fan, Yiran
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 6250
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2017
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Carbon black is a commodity material which is used mostly as a reinforcing filler in rubber and plastic production. Its manufacture is not only energy-consuming, contributes significantly to global CO2 emissions, but uses non-renewable feedstock making it unsustainable. Given the increasing pressure against the continued use of non-renewable sources of feedstock, there is an exciting opportunity to develop alternative materials to act as rubber fillers for environmental and economic reasons. This research has focused on the development of novel carbonaceous rubber fillers produced through the pyrolysis of coconut shell and raw sewage sludge. The basic properties of feedstock were evaluated to assess the efficacy of final filler performance; a Response Surface Methodology was applied to model the relationship between pyrolysis conditions and the key physical and chemical properties of the char filler and to optimise the pyrolysis process. Feedstock were pyrolysed using a laboratory-scale furnace using various temperatures, heating rates, holding times and atmospheres. A comparison was made between char fillers and commercial carbon blacks to establish the optimum production conditions. The selected char fillers were mixed with styrene-butadiene rubber and the rubber products were evaluated for their technological performance. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of the rubber-char filler interaction and the performance of the sustainable fillers was developed. By-products (oil and gas) were also studied as a wider sustainability study embedded within the research. The coconut shell and raw sewage sludge have significant potential for use as a sustainable feedstock for carbon black replacement in rubber manufacture. These fillers were found to have equivalent surface area (2.9 – 318.2m2/g) to a semi-reinforcing filler and provide 52 – 59° hardness, 482 – 962% elongation at break to the rubber products. Further research has been identified to improve post-production processing and rubber formulation which would help further optimize and improve the product for in-rubber use.
Supervisor: Fowler, Geoff Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral