Abstract :

The effect of naturally occurring hematite (α-Fe2O3) particles on composites based on natural rubber (NR) was investigated. The matrix was composed of 100g of NR, whereas α-Fe2O3 particles obtained from Kastina State in Nigeria were loaded in varying amounts of 3g, 5g and 7g. The compounding of the constituent materials was achieved with the aid of a two-roll mill in line with ASTM D15-627. The compounded mixtures were processed into their final shapes using compression molding machines. Tensile properties and flexural properties of the resultant composite samples were studied based on ASTM D638 and ASTM D7264/ASTM D7264M-07, respectively. On the other hand, the electrical conductivity of the samples was investigated in line with ASTM D257-07. The mineralogical composition of the filler sample was studied through the use of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). XRF results showed that the filler was predominantly composed of α-Fe2O3. Tensile properties and flexural properties increased due to an increase in filler content. Additionally, the electrical conductivity of the composites increased with an increase in filler loading. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images revealed filler-matrix adhesion in the composite samples. From the foregoing, α-Fe2O3 can serve as an alternative reinforcement for NR-based composites.