Mechanisms of antifatigue agents used in natural rubber

  • Kenichi Sugimoto

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A large number of compounds containing quinonoid or hindered phenol functions were examined for their roles as antifatigue agents. Among the evaluated quinones and phenols expected to have macroalkyl radical scavenging ability, BQ, αTOC, γTOC and GM showed relatively good performance for fatigue resistance (although their performance was slightly less effective than the commercial aromatic amine antioxidants, IPPD and 6PPD). The compounds which were shown to have higher reactivity with alkyl radicals (via calculated reactivity indices) showed better fatigue resistance. This fact supports the suggestion that strong alkyl radical scavengers should be also effective antifatigue agents. Evidence produced based on calculation of reactivity indices suggests that the quinones examined react with alkyl radicals on the meta position of the quinone rings producing phenoxyl radicals. The phenoxyl radicals are expected either to disproportionate, to recombine with a further alkyl radical, or to abstract a hydrogen from another alkyl radical producing an olefine. The regeneration of quinones and formation of the corresponding phenols is expected to occur during the antifatigue activity. The phenol antioxidant, HBA is expected to produce a quinonoid compound and this is also expected to function in a similar way to other quinones. Another phenol, GM, which is also known to scavenge alkyl radicals showed good antifatigue performance. Tocopherols had effective antifatigue activity and are expected to have different antifatigue mechanisms from that of other quinones, hence αTOC was examined for its mechanisms during rubber fatiguing using HPLC analysis. Trimers of αTOC which were produced during vulcanisation are suggested to contribute to the fatigue activity observed. The evidence suggests that the trimers reproduce αTOC and a mechanism was proposed.
Although antifatigue agents evaluated showed antifatigue activity, most of them had poor thermoxidative resistance, hence it was necessary to compensate for this by using a combination of antioxidants with the antifatigue agents. Reactive antioxidants which have the potential to graft on the polymer chains during reactive processing were used for this purpose. APMA was the most effective antioxidant among other evaluated reactive antioxidants. Although high ratio of grafting was achieved after optimisation of grafting conditions, it is suggested that this was achieved by long branches of APMA due to large extent of polymerisation. This is expected to cause maldistribution of APMA leading to reducing the effect of CB-D activity (while CB-A activity showed clear advantages for grafting). Further optimisation of grafting conditions is required in order to use APMA more effectively. Moreover, although synergistic effects between APMA and antifatigue agents were expected, none of the evaluated antifatigue agents, BQ, αTOC, γTOC and TMQ, showed significant synergism both in fatigue and thermoxidative resistance. They performed just as additives.

Date of AwardMay 1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSahar Al-Malaika (Supervisor)


  • antifatigue agents
  • antioxidants
  • natural rubber
  • fatigue
  • mechano degradation
  • thermoxidative degradation

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