Influence of thermo-oxidative aging on the mechanical and yellowing properties of polystyrene blends with recycled styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR)

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate thermo-oxidative aging in the mechanical properties and yellowing index (YI) of polystyrene blends with compatibilized recycled rubber (SBRr). The blends were initially prepared in a co-rotating double screw extruder, after which the extruded granules were injection molded; high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) was processed under the same conditions for comparison. The SBRr characterization results revealed composition fillers of silica, calcium carbonate, talc, and zinc oxide, while thermogravimetry demonstrated two thermal decomposition stages. It was found that impact strength decreased significantly during the initial 15 days of aging and then showed a tendency to stabilize with small oscillations. Properties related to the modulus of elasticity, strength, and elongation at tensile rupture were similar to those of impact strength: a marked reduction in the initial 15 days followed by stabilization with aging. When a blend was compatibilized with 5% styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), optimal properties were observed before and after aging, indicating impact resistance comparable to HIPS. The blends’ loss of mass suggested volatile component extraction. In terms of the YI, the blends showed a sudden increase in the first 15 days of aging before stabilizing at a practically constant yellowing rate. Up to 30 days of aging, HIPS presented a low yellowing rate, after which point the YI intensified. In general, the blends obtained via mechanical mixing exhibited behavior similar to HIPS; for the blend compatibilized with SBS, however, the impact behavior was identical to that of HIPS.