The aging of rubber caused by oxidative degradation leads to the deterioration in the physical and mechanical properties of vulcanized rubbers. In an effort to improve the oxidative stability of rubbers and elastomers, considerable amount of work has been carried out over the past 50 years (especially in the most recent 5 years) in order to understand degradation modes and effects in rubber due to the action of oxygen and ozone in the air. Different mechanisms have been proposed to interpret the experimental data relative to the oxidation of rubber. The diffusion limited theory has been widely used in the literature and verified by many experiments. Various instrumental techniques have been utilized to characterize the oxidation and degradation and their mechanisms in rubber compounds. Recently, FTIR imaging has demonstrated a unique combination of spectral and spatial resolution which allows not only the identification of the oxidation products but also their spatial distribution from the oxygen penetrating surfaces. This critical review will cover the major developments in our understanding of the oxidation of rubbers.

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