Featured Rubber Research – July 2023


Every month, Prescott Instruments features several recent scientific papers covering the world of rubber – from cultivation, production, processing, and testing to real-world applications, sustainability and novel concepts.

This July, the featured papers include:

Viscoelastic Modelling of Tennis Ball Properties: A study into the viscoelastic properties of rubber tennis balls.

Rice Husk Silica as a Sustainable Filler in the Tire Industry: The novel use of rice husk ash as a sustainable alternative to silica or carbon black as a reinforcement filler.

Utilization of Aloe Vera Extract as a Natural Coagulant and its Effect on the Characteristics of iIRR 118 Clone Rubber: A study into the use of aloe vera as an environmentally friendly alternative to formic acid in the coagulation of latex.

Read the full features below, complete with citations and links to read the original research online.

Featured Research Papers

Viscoelastic Modelling of Tennis Ball Properties

The Championships at Wimbledon use over 55,000 tennis balls each year. In a high-impact, high-velocity sport like tennis, understanding the viscoelastic properties of the rubber core is an essential part of performance modelling.

As a viscoelastic material, rubber is strain-rate dependent. This means that the material properties of the ball are dependent on the velocity of the ball at the point of impact. The high-strain rate on impact influences rubber stiffness, elastic modulus and energy loss.

While players may intuitively adjust their play, how can we measure these changes experimentally?

Off the court, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) measurements provide baseline data for hyperelastic and viscoelastic material models. Correlated with empirical data from high-speed video camera (HSV) data, it is possible to replicate game conditions using a finite element (FE) model of the rubber core.

Citation: L Sissler et al 2010 IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 10 012114

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/10/1/012114

Rice Husk Silica as a Sustainable Filler in the Tire Industry

Rice is one of the world's most important food sources, with nearly 800 million tonnes produced annually. While billions rely on rice as a vital source of calories, researchers have also investigated how rice husks could be a sustainable alternative to silica and carbon black in the tyre industry.

Rice husks, the hard and inedible outer coating surrounding each grain of rice, are removed during the milling process. This agricultural residue is already a valuable commodity, as rice husks are an important source of biomass fuel. After burning, approximately 17% ash is produced, containing up to 94% silica. This combination of high ash and high silica content make rice husks an attractive option as a sustainable filler in rubber compounds.

To measure this potential, researchers compared the mechanical, chemical and rheological properties of rubber compounds containing rubber husk silica against conventional fillers. Overall, they found comparable results between the methods, indicating the promising long-term potential of rice husks as an environmentally friendly alternative.

Citation: Chundawat, N. S., Parmar, B. S., Deuri, A. S., Vaidya, D., Jadoun, S., Zarrintaj, P., … & Chauhan, N. P. S. (2022). Rice husk silica as a sustainable filler in the tire industry. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 15(9), 104086.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2022.104086

Utilization of Aloe Vera Extract as a Natural Coagulant and its Effect on the Characteristics of iIRR 118 Clone Rubber

Indonesia is home to over 3 million hectares of rubber tree plantations, producing over 3 million tonnes of rubber annually. The processing of natural rubber involves the coagulation of raw latex using acid, most commonly formic acid. While effective, formic acid is both environmental damaging and hazardous to workers.

Indonesian researchers have recently tested aloe vera as an environmentally friendlier and safer alternative to formic acid. With a pH level between 3 and 3.5, aloe vera contains naturally occurring acids that are thought to speed up the coagulation process. Tested against a formic acid equivalent, the characteristic analysis included DRC, Po, PRI, ash content, dirt content, volatile matter, nitrogen content and Mooney viscosity (ML(1+4)).

Overall, the aloe vera performed well and met the quality requirements specified in Indonesian standards for natural rubber. Coupled with large local availability, aloe vera is well placed to become a safer, sustainable coagulant choice.

Citation: Achmad, F., Deviany, D., Aditya, F., Oktasari, A., Suhartono, S., & Suharto, S. (2023). Utilization of Aloe Vera Extract as A Natural Coagulant and its Effect on The Characteristics of IRR 118 Clone Rubber. Jurnal Rekayasa Kimia & Lingkungan, 18(1), 82-92.

DOI: Link


This month, Prescott Instruments has featured three recent scientific research papers concerning the world of rubber. July’s research topics include the viscoelastic modelling of tennis balls, rice husk silica as an alternative sustainable filler, and the use of aloe vera as a natural latex coagulant.

If you would like to see your research featured, or to suggest any further topics, contact us online.