Rubber Chemistry and Technology, 2018,
Epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) is a modified form of NR bearing polar epoxy groups. The present study focuses on dispersion of highly dispersible silica (HDS) filler with three different specific surface areas in ENR 25/ENR 50 composites. The effect of three different specific surface areas of HDS on bound rubber content, Payne effect, physicomechanical properties, and viscoelastic properties of the green composites was studied in detail. Also, the influences of epoxide content in ENRs in the absence of silane coupling agent are evaluated on the overall properties of green composites. The highest level of reinforcement was obtained for the intermediate specific surface area of HDS due to the homogenous dispersion in the ENR matrix. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) has been used to analyze the particle network and cluster establishment in the green composites. The present SAXS method provides a unique insight into the aggregate formation according to the Beaucage model. On the other hand, SAXS results demonstrate that the particle network can be efficiently suppressed by increasing the specific surface area of HDS.