Sol-gel–synthesized nano zinc oxide (ZnO) is introduced as a cure activator in carbon black (CB)– and silica-filled natural rubber (NR) composites. The performance of sol-gel–synthesized nano ZnO was systematically compared with conventional ZnO for various filled NR composites in terms of cure, mechanical, aging, and thermal properties. At a filler loading level of 40 parts per hundred parts of rubber (phr), only 1 phr nano ZnO provided a better cure rate index and tensile strength as compared with 5 phr conventional ZnO in CB-filled NR composites. On the other hand, at a 40 phr filler loading level, the cure and mechanical properties of the 1 phr nano ZnO cured NR/silica composite were comparable with the properties of the 5 phr conventional ZnO cured NR/silica composite. At the same filler loading level, both 1 phr nano ZnO and 5 phr conventional ZnO had a similar effect on the thermal stability of NR/CB and NR/silica composites. As a whole, 1 phr sol-gel–based nano ZnO could be used as an efficient cure activator instead of 5 phr conventional ZnO in CB- and silica-filled NR composites with successive reduction of ZnO level.

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