Abstract Blends of EPDM and chlorobutyl (CIIR) rubbers are used in nuclear plants where they have to withstand the combined effect of radiation and hydrocarbon aging. To improve their mechanical properties as well as hydrocarbon and gamma radiation resistance, the blends are reinforced with 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 phr of MWCNT. The increase in mechanical properties was highest for 1.5 phr MWCNT with 69% increase in tensile strength. The improvement in properties was correlated to MWCNT dispersion and filler–polymer interactions, which were confirmed by TEM and FTIR analysis. Hydrocarbon transport coefficients decreased on addition of MWCNT. The nanocomposites were exposed to 0.5, 1, and 2 MGy cumulative doses of gamma radiation. Depending on the radiation dose, crosslinking and/or chain scission occurred causes changes in physical properties. MWCNT reinforcement reduced the magnitude of changes in mechanical and transport properties after γ-irradiation. ESR and FTIR spectra provided qualitative information on free radical formation and chemical changes due to γ-rays exposure. To further enhance the properties, hybrid nanocomposites with 1.5 phr MWCNT and varying nanoclay contents (0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, and 5 phr) were prepared. Due to synergism between MWCNT and nanoclay, the hybrid composites had superior properties with hybrid containing 5 phr nanoclay giving 98% increase in tensile strength.
A. Neelesh, Vidhyashree, S., and Dr. Meera Balachandran, “The influence of MWCNT and hybrid (MWCNT/nanoclay) fillers on performance of EPDM-CIIR blends in nuclear applications: Mechanical, hydrocarbon transport, and gamma-radiation aging characteristics”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, vol. 137, p. 49271, 2020.