Improving heat ageing and thermal properties of silicone rubber using montmorillonite clay

Heat ageing and thermal stability of a silicone rubber (SR) filled with montmorillonite clay (MMT) was investigated. Three types of rubber nanocomposites were prepared with hig hly exfoliated Cloisite 30B (SR/C30B), intercalated/exfoliated Cloisite Na 1 (SR/Na 1 MMT), and highly intercalated Cloisite 20A (SR/C20A). This study showed that the SR/C30B nanocomposite exhibited excellent heat resistance in comparison to the other two nanocomposites and neat SR as revealed by higher retention strength. The thermal stability of the rubber in air was strongly dependent on the clay morphology and increased in the following order: highly intercalated/exfoliated SR/Na 1 MMT < highly intercalated SR/C20A < highly exfoliated SR/C30B. The thermogravimetric analyses of the SR/C30B nanocomposite showed a substantial increase in the final residue in comparison with the neat SR. This indicated a major improvement in the thermal stability of the rubber containing the exfoliated clay, which was also supported by the higher activation energy of decomposition measured for the nanocomposite.