(11)EP 0 002 572 A1


(43)Date of publication:
27.06.1979 Bulletin 1979/13

(21)Application number: 78300683.6

(22)Date of filing:  28.11.1978
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC)2C08L 23/32, C08K 5/01, C08K 5/00
(84)Designated Contracting States:

(30)Priority: 29.11.1977 US 855766

Florham Park, New Jersey 07932-0390 (US)

  • Lundberg, Robert Dean
    Bridgewater New Jersey (US)
  • Bock, Jan
    Bridgewater New Jersey (US)
  • Makowski, Henry Stanislaus
    Scotch Plains New Jersey (US)

(74)Representative: Field, Roger Norton (GB) et al
Carpmaels & Ransford 43 Bloomsbury Square
GB-London WC1A 2RA
GB-London WC1A 2RA (GB)

(56)References cited: : 

    (54)Elastomeric blend compositions of a sulphonated elastomer polymer

    (57) From 1 to 20 weight per cent of a non-polar wax e.g. a paraffinic wax, are added to a neutralised sulfonated elastomenc polymer derived from an elastomenc polymer (e.g. EPDM) having from 0 1 to 100 wt. % olefinic unsaturation to improve the physical and rheological properties of the unmodified polymer.


    [0001] The present invention relates to improved blend compositions of a chemical additive and a neutralized sulfonated elastomeric polymer, wherein the resultant composition has improved physical and rheological properties as compared to an unmodified sulfonated elastomeric polymer. In particular, the chemical additives encompassed by this present invention are non-polar waxes.

    [0002] The neutralized sulfonated elastomeric polymers of this present invention are derived from unsaturated polymers which include low unsaturated elastomeric polymers such as Butyl rubber, or EPDM terpolymers.

    [0003] Alternatively, other unsaturated polymers which may be used are partially hydrogenated polyisoprenes, partially hydrogenated polybutadienes, Neoprene, styrene-butadiene copolymers or isoprene- styrene random copolymers.

    [0004] The expression "Butyl rubber" as employed in the specification and claims is intended to include copolymers made from a polymerizaticn reaction mixture having therein from 70 to 99.5% by weight of an isoolefin which has 4 to 7 carbon atoms, e. g. isobutylene and 0.5 to 30% by weight of a conjugated multiolefin having from about 4 to 14 carbcn atoms, e.g. isoprene. The resulting copolymer contains 85 to 99.8% by weight of combined isoolefin and 0.2 to 15% of combined multiolefin.

    [0005] Butyl rubber generally has a Staudinger moleculat weight of 20,000 to 500,000, preferably 25,000 to 400,000 especially about 100,000 to 400,000, and a Wijs Iodine No. of 0.5 to 50, preferably 1 to 15. The prepararation of Butyl rubber is described in U.S. Patent 2,356,128.

    [0006] For the purpose of this invention, the Butyl rubber may have incorporated therein from 0.2 to 10% of combined multiolefin; preferably 0.5 to 6%; more preferably 1 to 4%, e.g. 2%.

    [0007] Illustrative of such a Butyl rubber is Exxon Butyl 365 (Exxon Chemical Co.), having a mole percent unsat- ration of 2.0% and a Mooney viscosity (ML, 1 + 8, 212°F) of 40-50.

    [0008] Low molecular weight Butyl rubbers, i.e. Butyl' rubbers having a viscosity average molecular weight of 5,000 to 85,000 and a mole percent unsaturation of 1 to 5% may be sulfonated to produce the polymers useful in this invention. Preferably, these polymers have a viscosity average molecular weight of 25,000 to 60,000.

    [0009] The EPDM terpolymers are low unsaturated polymers having 1 to 10.0 wt. % olefinic unsaturation, more preferably 2 to 8, most preferably 3 to 7 defined according to the definition as found in ASTM-D-1418-64 and is intended to mean terpolymers containing ethylene and propylene in the backbone and a diene in the side chain. Illustrative methods for producing these terpolymers are found in U.S. Patent 3,280,082, British Patent 1,030,289 and French Patent 1,386,600. The preferred polymers contain 40 to 75 wt. % ethylene and 1 to 10 wt. % of a diene monomer, the balance of the polymer being propylene. Preferably, the polymer contains 45 to 70 wt. % ethylene, e.g. 50 wt. %, and 2.6 to 8.0 wt. % diene monomer, e.g. 5.0 wt. %. The diene monomer is preferably a non-conjugated diene.

    [0010] Illustrative of these non-conjugated diene monomers which may be used in the terpolymer (EPDM) are 1,4-hexadiene, dicyclopentadiene, 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene, 5-methylene-2-norbornene, 5-propenyl-2-norbornene, and methyl tetrahydroindene.

    [0011] A typical EPDM is Vistalon 2504 (Exxon Chemical Co.), a terpolymer having a Mooney viscosity (ML, 1 + 8, (212°F) of 40 and having an ethylene content of 50 wt. % and a 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene content of 5.0 wt. %. The Mn of Vistalon 2504 is 47,000, the Mv is 145,000 and the Mw is 174,000.

    [0012] Another EPDM terpolymer Vistalon 2504-20 is derived from Vistalon 2504 by a controlled extrusion process, wherein the resultant Mooney viscosity at 212°F is 20. The Mn of Vistalon 2504-20 is 26,000, the Mv is 90,000 and the Mw is 125,000.

    [0013] Nordel 1320 (DuPont) is another terpolymer having a Mooney viscosity at 212°F of 25 and having 53 wt. % of ethylene, 3.5 wt. % of 1,4-hexadiene, and 43.5 wt.% of propylene.

    [0014] The EPDM terpolymers of this invention have a number average molecular weight (Mn) of 10,000 to 200,000, more preferably of 15,000 to 100,000, and most preferably of 20,000 to 60,000. The Mooney viscosity (ML, 1 + 8, 212°F) of the EPDM terpolymer is 5 to 60, more preferably 10 to 50, most preferably 15 to 40. the My of the EPDM terpolymer is pre- ferably below 350,000 and more preferably below 300,000. The Mw of the EPDM terpolymer is preferably below 500,000 and more preferably below 350,000.

    [0015] The preparation of these neutralized sulfonated elastomers has been described in U.S. Patent 3,642,728 and U.S. Serial No. 855,553. The exact method employed to prepare the neutralized sulfonated EPDM (or Butyl) is not of critical importance provided the resulting product is substantially free of covalent cross-linking (or gel free) has the requisite sulfonate content, and exhibits the rheological characteristics described in this application.

    [0016] The melt viscosity of the polymeric systems investigated were determined by the use of an Instron Capillary Rheometer. Generally, the melt viscosity measurements were made at a temperature of 200°C. and at various shear rates corresponding to crosshead speeds from .005 in/min to 20 in/min. The apparent viscosity at 200°C. and at a shear rate of .73 sec -1 (.005 in/min) is employed as a characterization parameter in this invention. A measure of the melt elasticity of a given system can also be obtained from these rheological measurements. A type of flow instability known as melt fracture is exhibited by many polymeric materials of high molecular weight. This phenomenon is shear sensitive and thus will generally exhibit itself at a given shear rate and temperature. The shear rate for the onset of melt fracture indicates the upper shear rate for processing a given matewial. This is used as a characterization parameter for compounds emplcyed in extrusion processing.

    [0017] The metal sulfonate containing polymers at the higher sulfonate levels possess extremely high melt viscosities and are thereby difficult to process. The addition of ionic group plasticizers markedly reduces melt viscosity and frequently enhances physical properties.

    [0018] To the neutralized sulfonated elastomeric polymer may be added, in either solution or to the crumb of the un- neutralined sulfonated elastcmeric polymer, a preferential plectidisei which may be a carboxylic acid having 5 to 30 carbon atoms per molecule, more preferably 8 tc 22 carbon atoms, or basic salts ot these carboxylic acids wherein the cation of the basic salt is aluminium, ammonium. lead or a metal of Groups IA, IIA, IB and IIB of the Periodic Table of Elements or a mixture thereof. The carboxylic acids and metal carboxylates may be lauric, myristic, palmitic or stearic acids or mixtures thereof; e.g. zinc stearate, magnesium stearate or zinc laurate.

    [0019] The preferential plasticizer may be incorporated into the neutralized sulfonated elastomeric polymer at 0 to 60 parts by weight based on 100 parts of the sulfonated polymer, more preferably at 5 to 40, and most preferably at 7 to 25. The metallic salt of the fatty acid can also be used as neutralizing agent. In case of the neutralizing agent and plasticizer being the identical chemical species, additional metallic salt is added over the required levels of neutralization. Alternative preferential plasticizers are organic esters, phenols, trialkyl I phosphates, alcohols, amines, amides, ammonium and amine salts of carboxylic acids and mixtures thereof. The preferred plasticizers are fatty acid or metallic salts of fatty acid and mixtures thereof. The resultant neutralized. sulfonated elastomeric polymer with preferential plasticizer is isolated from the solution by conventional steam stripping and filtration.

    [0020] The resultant neutralized and plasticized sulfonated elastomer has a viscosity at 200°C. and a shear rate at .73 sec-1 of 1 x 104 poise to 5 x 106 poise, more preferably of 5 x 104 poise to 2 x 106 poise and most preferably of 1 x 105 poise to 1 x 106 poise. The resultant neutralized sulfonated EPDM terpolymer with preferential plasticizer is isolated from the solution by conventional steam stripping or coagulation followed by filtration.

    [0021] The neutralized sulfonated EPDM terpolymer is blended with a non-polar wax or a combination of a filler and a non-polar wax by techniques well known in the art. For example, the blend composition can be compounded on a two roll mill. Other methods known in the art which are suitable for making these compositions include those methods employed in the plastic and elastomer industries for mixing polymer systems. An excellent polymer blend composition of this invention can be obtained through the use of a high shear batch intensive mixer called the Banbury. Alternatively, economic advantages in terms of time and labor savings can be obtained through the use of a Farrel Continuous Mixer, a twin screw extruder, or extrusion techniques which are continuous mixing type equipment. The Banbury mixing device is the preferred batch type mixer, and the twin screw extruder is the preferred continuous mixer.

    [0022] The fillers employed in the present invention are selected from talcs, ground calcium carbonate, water precipitated calcium carbonate, or delaminated, calcined or hydrated clays and mixtures thereof. These fillers may_be incorporated into the blend composition at 25 to 350 parts by weight per 100 parts of the sulfonated polymer, more preferably at 50 to 350; and most preferably at 50 to 300. Typically, these fillers have a particle size of 0.03 to 20 microns, more preferably 0.3 to 10, and most preferably 0.5 to 10. The oil absorption as measured by grams of oil absorbed by 100 grams of filler is 10 to 100, more preferably 10 to 85 and most preferably 10 to 75. Typical fillers employed in this invention are illustrated in Table I.

    [0023] Waxes are derived from various sources: petroleum waxes covering paraffin and microcrystalline wax; synthetic waxes including polyethylene and Fischer-Tropsch-wax; natural waxes from plants, insects and animals. The petroleum and synthetic waxes are most important for the present invention.

    [0024] Other than paraffinic, napthenic and aromatic hydrocarbon groups waxes can contain polar functional groups such as alcohols, ketones, and esters. It is preferred tha the waxes used in this invention be predominantly non-polar since polar functional groups function as plasticizers for the ionic sulfonate groups. Excessive plasticization is undesirable. The largest percentage of polar functional groups in waxes are those containing oxygen by virtue of hydrocarbon oxidation. For the purpose of this invention a wax is considered to be non-polar when it contains less than 4.0 wt. %, more preferably less than 2.0 wt. % oxygen.

    [0025] A description of paraffinic and microcrystalline waxes is given in the Kirk-Othmer "Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology; 1971, Vol. 14, pp. 768-779 and is abstracted below.

    [0026] Paraffin waxes consist primarily of straight-chain saturated hydrocarbons with only a small amount of branching such as 2-methyl groups, near the end of the chain. The amount of n-alkanes in paraffin wax usually exceeds 75% and may reach almost 100%. The molecular weights of the hydrocarbons in paraffin wax range from 280 to 560 (C20-C40), with each specific wax having a range of about eight to fifteen carbon numbers.

    [0027] The ranges of properties representative of several different paraffin waxes are presented in Table 2. Some of the commercial waxes included in the listed prop- perty range are also given. Paraffin waxes are generally lower melting, have lower molecular weights, and have lower viscosities when liquid than microcrystalline waxes. Paraffin waxes, in the solid state, exist in the form of large, distinct crystals, in contrast to the microscopic crystals of microcrystalline waxes. Physical properties of paraffin wax of an average molecular weight of 400 are listed in Table 3. Paraffin wax is soluble in non-polar organic solvents such as benzene, chloroform, carbon tetrachldride, and naphtha, and insoluble in polar solvents such as water and methanol.

    [0028] Microcrystalline waxes are the solid hydrocarbon mixtures refined from crude petrolatums, which are obtained from the dewaxing of residual lubricating oil stocks and tank-bottom wax. These waxes are known as microcrystalline because their relatively small crystals give an amorphous appearance to the waxes in the solid state.

    [0029] Microcrystalline waxes vary considerably in composition and properties, in contrast to paraffin wax. Generally, microcrystalline waxes consist of branched-chain hydrocarbons and alkyl cycloaliphatic (naphthenic) hydrocarbons as well as some straight-chain molecules, depending on the particular wax. The molecular weights range from 450 to 800 (C3S-C60). Some physical properties are listed in Table 3.

    [0030] The waxes are incorporated into the blend composition at a concentration level of 2 to 20 wt. %, more preferably 5 to 15 wt. %; and most preferably 7 to 15 wt. %.

    [0031] The waxes employed in the present invention usually have a softening point of 125°F to 220°F, more preferably 135°F to 200°F, and most preferably 150°F to 200°F-. The preferred waxes have an Mn of 300 to 4000. Some of the typical waxes are described in Table 2. These waxes are typically crystalline wherein the percent crystallinity can vary depending on the composition of the wax and the Mn.

    [0032] The incorporation of the waxes at the levels described in this invention imparts some beneficial and surprising characteristics to the sulfonated elastomeric compounds. Those benefits include a significant reduction of melt viscosity at elevated temperature for these compounds, with little sacrifice in physical properties at ambient temperatures, a reduction in tack at room temperature, and a substantial improvement in the resistance of these sulfonated EPDM based compounds to moisture during prolonged immersion. This latter characteristic is of substantial importance because these ionic elastomers can pick up as much as 30 to 50 wt. % moisture after prolonged immersion at 50°C. In contrast the incorporation of a suitable wax at a sufficient level will markedly reduce the level of water sensitivity. The magnitude of this improvement is believed to depend on the amount of wax incorporated.

    [0033] In addition to these improvements, it is observed that the addition of modest levels of wax to sulfonated elastomer compounds improves the extrusion behavior at elevated temperatures by providing a more uniform flow than is obtained in the absence of wax. This improvement is detectable at a relatively low level of wax, from 2 to 15 wt. % based on compound.

    [0034] The ingredients incorporated into the blend compositions of the present invention, in conjunction with the type of elastomeric polymer, the degree of sulfonation, and the metal counterion of the neutralized sulfonated elastomeric.polymer and the plasticizer give materials processable by extrusion or injection molding processes into elastomeric articles having the desirable physical and rheological properties.

    [0035] The advantages of both the rheological and physi- 'cal properties of the blend compositions of the present invention can be more readily appreciated by reference to the following examples and tables. Unless otherwise specified, all measurements are in parts per hundred by weight.


    [0036] One hundred grams of an EPDM terpolymer, Vistalon 2504-20, was dissolved under agitation in 1000 ml. of n-hexane at 40°C. The resultant cement was cooled to room temperature and 5.74 ml. of acetic anhydride (60.75 mmoles) was then added. While stirring the mixture, 2.1 ml. of 95% H2SO4 (37.5 mmcles) was added dropwise. The sulfonation reaction was quenched after 30 minutes with 150 ml. of isopropanol. The acid form of the sulfonated polymer was analyzed by Dietert Sulfur Analysis to have 33 meq. of SO3H groups per 100 grams of sulfonated polymer. To the quenched sulfonated cement was added with stirring for thirty minutes 25.6 grams (90 mmoles/100 grams of EPDM) of stearic acid. I A solution of 9.87 grams (90 meq./100 g. of EPDM) of zinc acetate dihydrate dissolved in 25 ml. of distilled water was then added in the cement and the cement stirred for an additional 30 minutes. Antioxidant 2246 (0.5 grams) was then added to the cement. The resultant plasticized, neutralized sulfonated EPDM terpolymer was then isolated by steam stripping and drying on a rubber mill at 220°F., wherein the sulfonated terpolymer has an apparent viscosity at 0.73 sec-1 at 200°C. of about 3.3 x 105 poise. This material was incapable of being injection molded on a low pressure Desma machine equipped with a standard canvas footwear type mold.


    [0037] The sulfonated EPDM gum was prepared in an identical manner as,described in Example 1. The polymer was . blended with several different waxes by blending 10 parts of wax with 100 parts of Sulfo EPDM in a suitable Brabender mixing head at a temperature of about 175°C. until a smooth homogeneous dispersion was obtained, for a total of about 10-15 minutes. The resulting viscous melt was then sheeted out on a warm (~200°F.) two roll mill. The waxes employed are described in Table 4.

    [0038] The melt index of the wax-Sulfo EPDM blends was measured at 190°C, at a pressure of 226 psi. The relative flow values were obtained through a weight measurement of the extrudate after the equivalent of 10 minutes.

    [0039] It is evident from the data in Table 5 that the incorporation of moderate wax levels substantially enhances the flow behavior of the Sulfo EPDM gum. This characteristic is very desirable because such sulfonated elastomers can possess undesirably high melt viscosities.


    [0040] One of the undesirable characteristics of ionic elastomers in general, and sulfonated elastomer in particular, is that they can display a significant degree of water sensitivity. The incorporation of the types of waxes described in this application surprisingly reduces the degree of water sensitivity. The amount of wax incorporated in these blends will have an effect on the degree of improvement in water sensitivity observed. A series of wax-Sulfo EPDM blends was prepared as described in Example 2, except in these cases significantly higher levels of wax were incorporated in order to assess the effect more rapidly. The resultant blends were then compression molded at 300°F. to form pads about .020 inches thick. These pads were weighed and then immersed in water at 50°C. for a period of 21 days. After that time period the pads were removed, surface moisture blotted off, and then weighed. The increase in weight was determined in terms of weight percent increased over the original pad weight. The values are given in Table 6.

    [0041] It is clearly evident that the presence of the various waxes markedly reduce the degree of water sensitivity of the blends as contrasted to Sulfo-EPDM Control.


    [0042] The sulfonated EPDM described in Example 1 was employed to make two compounds A and B having the following formulation:

    [0043] Formulation B contained 15 pts of paraffin wax on about 5 weight percent. The formulations above were prepared employing conventional rubber compounding equipment and the melt rheology and physical properties compared as shown in Table 7.

    [0044] It is evident that the presence of small amounts of wax can improve the flow behavior significantly (over 20%) without a substantial deterioration in physical properties. For many injection molding applications this improvement in flew can be extremely important.


    [0045] The preparaticn of sulfonated EPDM was effected as described in Example 1 except that the gum was extended with about 40 parts of Sunpar 180 oil. This oil extended gum was then compounded with other ingredients as follows:

    [0046] The compcunds were prepared in conventional rubber compounding equipment and the resulting homogeneous elastcmeric products were compression molded at 300°F. and the physical properties measured as shown in Table 8.

    [0047] The data in Table 8 demonstrate the influence of amorphous polypropylene and a paraffinic wax on the physical and rheological properties of a Sulfo-EPDM based compound. There are several surprising and important: observations to be made from this comparison. The first one is that the compound containing the paraffinic wax at the low levels employed again improves the flow behavior, (although only slightly) as judged by the lower shear stress at a given shear rate, while simultaneously exhibiting improved physical properties when compared against the compound containing the amorphous polypropylene.

    [0048] A second observation is that the sample containing the amorphous polypropylene exhibits a tacky surface. This characteristic is often observed in soft compounds based on ionic elastomers at high oil extension levels. The presence of the low levels of wax shown in this example markedly improve this characteristic such that no significant level of tack is observed.

    [0049] The experiments above demonstrate that modest levels of wax can improve the flow and physical properties of sulfonated elastomers in important and surprising ways. In addition such waxes have the added benefit of reducing the degree of water sensitivity and tackiness often observed in such systems.

    [0050] Since many modifications and variations of this invention may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention thereof, it is not intended to limit the spirit or scope thereof to the specific examples thereof.


    1. An elastomeric blend composition, which comprises:

    (a) a major portion by weight of a neutralised sulfonated elastomeric polymer formed from an elastomeric polymer having from 0.1 to 10.0 wt. percent of olefinic unsaturation; . and

    (b) a minor portion by weight of a non-polar wax at a concentration level of from 1 to 20 weight percent of the composition.

    2. A composition according to either of claims 1 and 2 wherei said elastomeric polymer has an Mn of less than 60,000 and a Mooney viscosity at 100°C of 5 to 60.
    3. A composition according to claim 2, wherein said neutralized sulfonated elastomer is a neutralized sulfonated EPDM terpolymer having 15 to 50 meq. sulfonate groups per 100 grams of said sulfonated EPDM terpolymer, at least about 90% of said sulfonate groups being neutralized with a metal cation which is lead., antimony, iron, a metal of Groups IA, IIA, IB and IIB of the Periodic Table of Elements or a mixture thereof.
    4. A composition according to claim 3, wherein said neutralized sulfonated EPDM terpolymer has a viscosity at 200°C at 0.74 sec-1 of 1 x 104 to 5 x 106 poises.
    5. A composition according to any one of the preceding claims, whercin said neutralised sulfonated elastomeric polymer has a preferential plasticizer incorporated therein at a concentration level of at least 7 parts by weight per 100 parts by weight oi said sulfonated polymer.
    6. A composition according to claim 5, wherein said preferential plasticizer has a melting point of at least 25°C and is a carboxylic acid, a ketone, a phenol, a phosphate, an amide, an amine or a mixture thereof.
    7. A composition according to claim 5, wherein said preferential plasticizer is a combination of stearic acid and a metallic salt of said stearic acid, the metal ion of said metallic salt being lead, iron, antimony, a metal of Groups I-A, II-A, I-B or II-B of the Periodic Table of Elements or a mixture thereof.
    8. A composition according to claim 7, wherein said metallic salt is zinc stearate, barium stearate, lead stearate, magnesium stearate or sodium stearate.
    9. A composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said non-polar wax is a synthetic, natural or petroleum wax, said wax containing less than 4.0 wt. % of oxygen.
    10. A composition according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein said non-polar wax is aromatic, polyolefinic, paraffinic, napthenic or microcrystalline.
    11. A composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said non-polar wax has an Mn of about 300 to about 4000.
    12. A composition according to any one of the preceding claims, which further includes a filler at a concentration level of 5 to 300 parts by weight per 100 parts by weight of sulfonated polymer and a rubber process oil at a level of 0 to 100 parts by weight per 100 parts by weight of sulfonated polymer.
    13. A composition according to claim 12, wherein said filler is aluminium silicate, talc, calcium silicate, calcium carbonate, magnesium silicate or a mixture thereof.

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