The rubber industry relies heavily on a large number of inputs from the source of natural rubber (NR), which, due to its specific inherent properties, is one of the most used rubber materials. This experimental study was carried out to check the quality improvement of natural rubber products by drying methods and to determine to what degree the properties shown were affected by the different drying methods. During this analysis, natural rubber coagulum samples were collected and each sample was subjected to one of the following three drying methods: air, smoke and oven. The characteristics of the dried rubber samples from the three drying methods were then investigated. The quality parameter adopted in this analysis was the Plasticity Retention Index (PRI), which offered a measure of quality in terms of the oxidative resistance of natural rubber. By using the Wallace plastimeter, the plasticity retention index was tested. For the samples, the PRI values were determined. Results obtained from this analysis showed that, as shown in the PRI levels, the characteristics of natural rubber samples were actually affected to various observable levels depending on drying methods. The findings further provided the basis for our assumptions that smoke-dried rubber samples had the lowest qualities, with the lowest PRI values, followed by oven and air-dried samples, respectively, in terms of their PRI. The best features, as shown by the maximum PRI values. It would be recommended, on the basis of the results obtained from this experimental analysis, that the air drying of coagulated natural rubber samples should be carried out in preference to the other two alternatives and should be adopted as the drying method of choice wherever possible.
Felix Osarumhense Aguele
Department of Chemical Engineering Technology, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria. Justice Agbonayinma Idiaghe Department of Polymer Technology, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Nigeria.
Tochukwu Uzoma Apugo-Nwosu Department of Chemical Engineering Technology, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria.