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Polymer-Plastics Technology and Engineering

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Studies on Acrylonitrile-Butadiene (NBR) Latex-

Reinforced Jute Nonwoven Fabric Composites:
Chemical Resistance, Mechanical Properties, and Water
a b
M. N. Satheesh Kumar & Siddaramaiah
Research and Development Division, Raman Boards Limited, Mysore, India
Department of Polymer Science and Technology, Sri Jayachamarajendra College of
Engineering, Mysore, India

Version of record first published: 15 Feb 2007

To cite this article: M. N. Satheesh Kumar & Siddaramaiah (2006): Studies on Acrylonitrile-Butadiene (NBR) Latex-Reinforced
Jute Nonwoven Fabric Composites: Chemical Resistance, Mechanical Properties, and Water Absorption, Polymer-Plastics
Technology and Engineering, 45:3, 409-414

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03602550600553788


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Polymer-Plastics Technology and Engineering, 45: 409414, 2006
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0360-2559 print/1525-6111 online
DOI: 10.1080/03602550600553788

Studies on Acrylonitrile-Butadiene (NBR) Latex-Reinforced

Jute Nonwoven Fabric Composites: Chemical Resistance,
Mechanical Properties, and Water Absorption
M. N. Satheesh Kumar
Research and Development Division, Raman Boards Limited, Mysore, India
Department of Polymer Science and Technology, Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering,
Mysore, India
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are renewable, and can also participate in the ecological

Composites were fabricated by impregnating the jute nonwoven biodegradation=regeneration cycles, unlike nonorganic
fabric in a bath of acrylonitrile-butadiene (NBR) latex. The effects and fossil materials[1,2].
of different pickup ratios (dry-to-dry weight) of jute nonwoven Jute is a vegetable bast fiber mainly consisting of cellu-
fabric to NBR latex viz., 1:0.5, 1:1, 1:1.5, 1:2, and 1:2.5 on the lose, polyols, and lignin. Jute is obtained from the bark of
performance of composites have been studied. The fabricated
composites have been evaluated for physico-mechanical properties cultivated species of genus chorcorus. Jute fiber has some
and chemical resistance. Percent water absorption of composites inherent advantages[35] for its renewable nature, biode-
has been determined both at room temperature and boiling water. gradability, high strength and initial modulus, moderate
Effects of different relative humidity on the equilibrium moisture moisture regain, easy dyeablity, good heat and sound insu-
content of the natural jute nonwoven fabric-NBR composites have lation properties, and low price. Jute in the form of fabric
been evaluated.
has some disadvantages[59] such as poor tensile strength,
water sensitivity, coarseness, stiffness, low extensibility,
Keywords Jute nonwoven fabric; NBR; Composites; Mechanical
properties; Effect of RHs and low wet strength. Structures such as dry-formed net-
works of fibers, which are also called nonwoven fabrics
normally, have poor mechanical properties, and polymeric
binding materials are needed to obtain a product with an
The composite technology of a polymeric matrix rein-
acceptable performance[1013]. The polymeric binder can
forced with man-made fibers such as glass, kevlar, carbon,
be added to the network either as an aqueous latex disper-
etc., has come of age, especially with the advances in
sion or as a solution. In either case, the added polymer will
aerospace applications. The developments in polymer com-
improve the stress transfer characteristics of the fibrous
posite after meeting the challenges of the aerospace sector
network. The use of aqueous latex dispersion as a
have cascaded down to domestic and industrial applica-
polymeric binding agent in the fabrication of reinforced
tions. Composites, the potential material with light-weight,
composites has several potential advantages over solvent
high strength-to-weight ratio, and stiffness properties have
dissolved solution-based polymers. The solvent-based
come a long way in replacing conventional materials such
systems are undesirable since the solvent, in many cases,
as metals, woods, etc. Material technologists all over the
is toxic, expensive, and must either be recovered for reuse
world focused their attention on natural fiber composites
or discarded. The latex-based polymers for fabricating
reinforced with jute, sisal, coir, pineapple, etc., primarily
the nonwoven reinforced composites are well reported in
to cut down the cost of raw materials. Raw materials (bio-
the literature[1419].
mass) are fundamentally important to sustainable develop-
Extensive research studies have been carried out on
ment simply because they can be grown and consequently
short jute fiber[20,21] and jute fabric[22,23] reinforced compo-
sites using phenolic matrices[24], polyester, epoxy resin[25],
Address correspondence to Siddaramaiah, Department of
vinyl ester resin[26], and acrylamide-formaldehyde resin[22].
Polymer Science and Technology, Sri Jayachamarajendra College
of Engineering, Mysore 570 006, India. E-mail: siddaramaiah@ Mitra et al.[23] have reported on the fabrication of compo-
yahoo.com sites by impregnating the jute nonwoven fabric in


water-based phenol-formaldehyde (PF) resin, and the for 20 min. The dried composites were soft and they were
effect of pretreatment of jute nonwoven on the perform- calendered to improve the surface finish, then the compo-
ance of composites have been evaluated. Premamoy Ghosh sites were cooled to ambient temperature. It was difficult to
et al.[22] have described the simultaneous free radical poly- fabricate the composite with the pickup ratio above 1:2.5.
merization and acidic poly condensation of acrylamide-
formaldehyde resins on jute fabric. They have also studied Techniques
the effects of different degrees of removal of lignin and The tensile strength of the composites in dry and wet
hemicellulose from jute on its resin uptake behavior. In conditions were measured at 230C and 50% RH using
view of substituting the jute fiber nonwoven to random 4302 model Hounsfleld universal testing machine (UK).
glass fiber mats, ODell[27] has studied the suitability of jute The width of the specimens maintained was 50 mm as
nonwoven mat for the composite fabrication via the resin described elsewhere[11]. NBR-jute composites were tested
transfer molding technique. Acrylonitrile-butadiene latex for burst strength, stiffness, and stitch tear strength accord-
(NBR) has good adhesion to many fibers, especially to ing to ASTM D2738, BSI 3748, and IS: 5867-1970
those that are polar in nature[28], and have excellent oil methods, respectively.
and, abrasion resistance, and have poor ozone resistance. The chemical resistance of NBR-jute composites were
Sherwood[29] discussed various polymeric latex, such as studied as per the ASTM D 543-87 method with 40% nitric
acrylonitrele-butadine (NBR) and styrene-butadiene acid, 8% acetic acid, 10% sodium hydroxide, 20% sodium
(SBR), used as binders in the manufacture of nonwoven
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carbonate, 10% ammonium hydroxide, toluene, carbon

fabric. Although many reports are available on the appli- tetrachloride, and distilled water. In each case, 10 dried
cation of latex-based polymers for the nonwoven fibrous and previously weighed samples were exposed under differ-
structures to fabricate the composites[921], there is a scar- ent chemical environments for 24 h at room temperature.
city in the literature on the systematic investigation on the After 24 h, samples were removed, washed with distilled
effect of different pickup ratios of acrylonitrile-butadiene water, and pressed between the filter paper to remove the
(NBR) latex on the performance of needle-punched jute surface water. The samples were then weighed and the
nonwoven fabric composites. In this research article, the changes in the percentage weight were recorded.
authors have used the mechanically entangled jute non- Water absorption was determined by simple immersion
woven fabric made by the needle-punching process, and a in distilled water for 2 and 24 h. Boiling water absorption
series of composites were fabricated with different pickup of the composites was determined by placing the samples
ratios (dry-to-dry weight basis) of jute nonwoven fabric in boiling water for 0.5 and 2 h. This procedure would
to NBR latex. The fabricated composites have been studied account for aging due to humidity and thermal effects
for mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and water but not photochemical effects. Specimen size used for the
absorption. The effects of different relative humidities on test was 20  20 .
the equilibrium moisture uptake of the composite have
been determined. Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC)
The specimens (20  20 ) were dried in an oven at 1050C
EXPERIMENTAL untill constant weight was obtained. The dried specimens
Materials were exposed to the different RH (65%, 75%, and 94%)
at 23  20C until they reached equilibrium. EMC was
Needle-punched jute nonwoven fabric (150 g=m2) hav-
calculated using the following relation:
ing density of 0.1 g=cc and burst strength of 0.60 MPa
was procured from Jindal Fibers Private Ltd., India. Weight at different RH  Oven dry weight
NBR latex having pH 78, viscosity of 15 seconds (B4 EMC 100
Oven dry weight
cup standard), and solid content of 40% was procured 1
from a local supplier. The acrylonitrile content in the
NBR latex was 30%.

Fabrication of Composites RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Jute nonwoven fabric having 150 g=m2 was impregnated The effect of different NBR latex pickup ratios on the
in a bath containing NBR latex. The dipped fabric was mechanical properties of the jute nonwoven fabric compo-
squeezed in a two-roll squeezer to adjust the different sites are given in Table 1. The density of the composites
pickup of latex to fabric. The pickup ratio of nonwoven increased from 0.35 to 0.71 g=cc with increase in the
fabric to polymer latex was varied over a range 1:0.5 to NBR pickup ratio. This is due to the high density of
1:2.5. After the desired latex pickup was adjusted, the NBR (1.02 g=cc) compared to that of jute nonwoven fabric
impregnated fabric was dried in a hot air oven at 1500C (0.10 g=cc). The theoretical density of the composites

Mechanical properties of NBR-jute nonwoven composites
Tensile Taber Burst
Density (g=cc)
Ratio F:M strength Elongation stiffness strength Stitch tear
(Wt=Wt, dry) Theo. Expt. % Dev. (MPa) at break (%) in units (MPa) strength (N)
Pure fabric 0.10 0.6 39 Nil 0.57 14
1:0.5 0.41 0.35 14.6 2.76 39 30 0.65 29
1:1.0 0.57 0.51 10.5 3.88 42 60 0.70 37
1:1.5 0.65 0.59 9.2 4.60 47 60 0.75 38
1:2.0 0.72 0.68 5.5 5.82 36 120 0.75 67
1:2.5 0.76 0.71 6.6 4.48 35 135 1.05 54

calculated by using the volume additive principle, which different NBR pickup ratios. It is observed that the specific
states that (d w1d1 w2d2), where d is the density of strength of the composites increased drastically from 3.8 to
the composite, w1 and w2 are the weight fractions of the 13.96 Nm=g, with increase in the NBR content up to a
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constituents, and d1 and d2 are the corresponding densi- pickup ratio of 1:2. The increase in the specific strength
ties, respectively. The theoretical density is higher com- of the composite would account for better stress transfer
pared to the experimental density of the composites. This between the fibers in the presence of the polymeric phase.
may be due to the presence of a micro void in the com- The reinforcement factor of the composites is the ratio of
posite. It is also observed that the percentage deviation in tensile strength of bonded fabric composites to that of
densities of the composite decreased with increasing the unbonded fabric (jute nonwoven), as shown in Figure 2.
NBR pickup ratio up to 1:2. Compared to the jute fabric, The reinforcement factor increased with increasing the
all the measured properties have increased with increase NBR pickup up to a 1:2 ratio and decreased at a 1:2.5
in the pickup ratio. The taber stiffness and burst strength ratio. A similar observation was made by Rigdahl et al.[11]
of the composites have increased drastically with increasing that the specific strength and density of the composites
the NBR pickup ratio, and the values lie in the range increased with increase in the polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
30135 units and 0.571.05 MPa. This can be attributed content and the reinforcement factor increased with
to the strong polarpolar interaction of the nitrile group increase in the polystyrene (PS) content. In both the cases,
of NBR with the hydroxyl group of jute fabric[28]. The ten- a dry-formed cellulose (bleached sulfate pulp) network was
sile strength, percentage elongation at break, and stitch used as the reinforcement. Overall, the obtained mechan-
tear strength of the composites lie in the range 2.76 ical properties of the composites show that the stress
5.82 MPa, 3547 and 2967 N, respectively. The tensile
strength and stitch tear strength increased with increase
in the NBR content up to a 1:2 ratio and decreased with
further increase in NBR pickup ratio. The percentage elon-
gation at break of the composites increased with increasing
the NBR pickup up to a 1:1.5 ratio and decreased with
further increase in NBR pickup ratio. It can be expected
that with the NBR latex pickup ratio above 1:2, the latex
merely coats the fiber and is not located at the points of
contact between the fibers[30,31]. It can also be expected that
the presence of fiber-polymer-polymer bond rather than
fiber-polymer-fiber bond in the case of composites with
the pickup ratio above 1:2 may be the reason for the
decreased tensile strength and percentage elongation at
break. The result also indicates that there is a strong inter-
facial adhesion bond between the fiber and the polymer at
a pickup ratio of 1:2.
The specific strength of the composites is the maximum
value of registered stress divided by network density.
Figure 1 shows the specific strength of the composites with FIG. 1. Specific strength of composites as a function of NBR pickup.

FIG. 3. Percentage water absorption of NBR-jute nonwoven compo-

FIG. 2. Reinforcement factor of NBR-jute nonwoven fabric compo-
sites at room temperature for 2 and 24 h.
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transfer characteristics of jute nonwoven fibrous structures resistance of the composites has increased with increasing
have increased with increasing the NBR pickup ratio. NBR pickup in the composites.
Chemical resistivities of NBR-jute fabric composites are Water absorption of the composites was determined by
calculated by measuring the percentage weight loss or gain immersing the samples in water at room temperature for 2
with various chemical reagents, as given in Table 2. With and 24 h, and the results are shown in Figure 3. The water
increasing NBR pickup, composites showed increased absorption behaviors of composite specimens have been
chemical resistance in all the chemical reagents except carried out in boiling water for 0.5 and 2 h, and the data
toluene and carbon tetrachloride. A drastic increase in obtained are shown in Figure 4. It is evident from these fig-
chemical resistance in all chemicals was noticed in the com- ures that with increase in the pickup ratio of NBR, the
posite fabricated with an NBR pickup ratio above 1:2 composites showed decreased water absorption at both
compared to other composite. In the case of toluene and room temperature and boiling water. The water absorption
carbon tetrachloride, despite the poor chemical resistance of the composites was measured at different intervals of
in the matrix itself, the increased NBR pickup ratio has time (Fig. 5) and the water absorption of the composites
not reduced the chemical resistance significantly as com- was decreased with increasing pickup ratio of NBR. A
pared to pure NBR film. This can be expected, since pure similar trend was noticed with respect to the equilibrium
NBR film absorbs very easily these solvents, whereas in moisture content (EMC) of the composites at different
the case of reinforced composites, the fiber part in it will relative humidities (Fig. 6). It is observed that the EMC
reduce the more solvent absorption as compared to pure of the composites are almost the same at 65% and 75%
NBR. This observation clearly indicates that the chemical RH, but high EMC values at 95% RH. This may be due

Chemical resistivity of NBR-jute nonwoven composite
Percent change in weight after immersing for 24 h at room temperature
Chemical reagents
Ratio F:M 40% 10% 8% 10% 20% 25% Distilled
(Wt=Wt, dry) HNO3 HCl CH3COOH NaOH Na2CO3 NH4OH Toluene CCl4 water
Pure NBR film 24 3 17 3 3 10 203 126 10
1:0.5 204 115 148 104 124 97 100 123 170
1:1.0 192 115 128 118 133 98 122 132 140
1:1.5 190 89 124 82 81 84 141 143 94
1:2.0 128 43 78 48 45 55 141 124 58
1:2.5 89 33 68 44 35 44 151 133 48

FIG. 4. Percentage water absorption of NBR-jute nonwoven compo-

FIG. 7. Percentage loss of tensile strength after 6 h immersion of NBR-
sites in boiling water for 0.5 and 2 h.
jute composites in water at room temperature.
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FIG. 8. Percentage compressibility and recovery of NBR-jute non-

woven fabric composites.

FIG. 5. Rate of water absorption of NBR-jute nonwoven composites at to the fact that, with increasing pickup ratio of NBR, the
room temperature.
hygroscopic nature of jute fabric drastically decreases.
The effect of NBR pickup ratio on percentage retention
of tensile strength after 6 h immersion in distilled water is
shown in Figure 7. This figure reveals that with increase
in the NBR pickup ratio, the percentage retention of tensile
strength after aging in water has increased. This may be
due to the high water resistance nature of NBR (Table 2).
Figure 8 shows the percentage compressibility and per-
centage recovery of NBR-jute composites with different
NBR pickup ratios. From the figure it can be observed that
with increasing pickup ratio of jute nonwoven fabric to
NBR latex from 1:0.5 to 1:2.5, the compressibility has
reduced from 47.6% to 35.9% (24.7% reduction), whereas
the percentage recovery has increased from 17.8% to 36%
(102% increase). At a pickup ratio of 1:2.5, the observed
percentage compressibility and recovery are the same. An
inverse relationship was noticed between percentage
FIG. 6. Effect of NBR pickup ratio on the percentage moisture uptake recovery and percentage compressibility. The reduced
of NBR-jute nonwoven fabric composites. compressibility with increased recovery of composites is a

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