Epoxidized Natural Rubber Unveils Exciting Possibilities

Amit Das Subhradeep Mandal

Leibniz Institut fur Polymerforschung Dresden e. V., 01069 Dresden, Germany.


This study presents an alternative crosslinking approach for epoxidized natural rubber. By introducing imidazolium ions, the rubber's backbone undergoes a transformation, resulting in the formation of ionic stickers as random repeating units. This process turns the rubber into an ionomer with unique characteristics, enabling self-healing and re-processability. Furthermore, when unsubstituted imidazole interacts with the epoxy ring of epoxidized natural rubber, reversible hydrogen bonds are formed alongside the ion cluster formation. These reversible dynamic bonds contribute to the network structure's flexibility and dynamics. Various analyses, including FTIR and NMR, were conducted to characterize the chemical structure, demonstrating the promising mechanical properties of the transformed ENR.