Rubber is a very popular and adaptable material that is used to create a wide variety of products, including hoses, shoes, swimming caps, and elastic bands. In fact, automobile tyres are made with half of all rubber produced. As such a vital material, how is rubber made?
Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber are the types of rubber. Natural rubber is made by extracting a liquid sap, called latex, from certain types of tree. Synthetic rubber differs from natural rubber in that it is made by linking polymer molecules together in a laboratory.
Please read on for more detailed information.
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Origins of Rubber
For more than a thousand years, rubber has been used by humans to make products because it is strong and flexible. Although the first types of rubber were made from natural resources, as the need for this substance grew, scientists created artificial or synthetic rubber in labs that closely resembled the natural material. Nowadays, synthetic rubber is the most common type of rubber produced.
Types of Rubber
Natural rubber is resilient to abrasion, fatigue, exposure to moisture, and some chemicals because it is both strong and flexible and can withstand these effects for an extended period of time. Natural rubber sticks to other materials well as well, making it perfect for products like tires that must be enforced.
Natural rubber can withstand a wide range of service temperatures, but it might not be the best material for situations where there is intense heat, harsh lighting, or ozone exposure. Natural rubber is also not very resistant to fuel, oil, and other substances.
Read about What Is Natural Rubber Latex?
The most desirable characteristics of natural rubber are shared by synthetic rubber, but there are also significant differences between the two. Producing and obtaining synthetic rubber is relatively simple. Compared to natural rubber, synthetic rubber is more heat, abrasion, grease, and oil resistant. In fact, some types of synthetic rubber even resist flames. Similar to natural rubber, synthetic rubber is incredibly flexible, but synthetic rubber keeps its flexibility even at very low temperatures. Synthetic rubber can also be incredibly resistant to corrosion and high temperatures with the right manufacturing techniques.
How is a Rubber Made?
There are two different types of rubber, and they are both produced in different ways.
Natural Rubber is Produced
- It is called “latex tapping” to extract the milky liquid known as latex from a rubber tree or plant.
- To speed up the coagulation process, the milky liquid is filtered and treated with acid.
- Following the coagulation of the latex, it is prepared for the rolling process to squeeze out the water and is then hung out to dry in the sun.
- To increase strength and durability, carbon black is frequently added. Burning heavy petroleum products produces carbon black, a black powder byproduct.
- Vulcanization: heating sulfur to a high temperature while treating rubber to make it harder. In order to prevent the rubber molecules from easily disintegrating, this process adds additional bonds or cross-links between them.
Synthetic Rubber is Produced
There are numerous methods for creating synthetic rubber, and it can have a wide range of characteristics. In this instance, a description of how a tire is made is given below.
- The first step is to extract from oil or petroleum the monomers styrene and butadiene.
- Using the two monomers butadiene and styrene in a chemical reaction will create the polymer Styrene-butadiene. This liquid is also white and milky, similar to rubber tree latex.
- Nearly identical to natural rubber, the following stages are. To increase durability and strength, carbon black powder is added.
- Vulcanization is the process of vulcanizing rubber, which involves heating sulfur to a high temperature.
What is a Rubber Made Of?
More than 2500 different types of plants can be used to make natural rubber; however, the most popular and effective ones are listed below.
Latex, a milky-colored liquid, is produced by rubber trees. Hevea brasiliensis is the tree that is most commonly used to make natural rubber. However, many additional trees also produce a specific type of latex. See a few of those trees in the list below.
- Hevea brasiliensis als called Pará rubber tree
- Castilla elastica
Similar to the latex that can be used to make rubber, many flowering plants also produce it. However, this approach is less common and not as frequently used in manufacturing. I suppose that’s because harvesting is less effective and generally more difficult.
Through a chemical reaction, various substances (monomers and polymers) can be combined to create synthetic rubber. Most of those monomers or polymers are extracted from:
- Oil or petroleum
Read about What Is Rubber Wood?
Elastomers include silicone rubber and natural rubber. Their atomic structures are different, which makes the two different. Unlike the backbones of most rubbers, which are made of carbon-carbon bonds, the backbone of silicone is composed of silicon and oxygen.
Silicone is typically non-reactive, stable, and resistant to extreme environments. In terms of resistance to heat, cold, chemicals, and ozone, silicone rubber outperforms natural rubber significantly. Furthermore, silicone can withstand prolonged exposure to water without significantly changing its mechanical properties due to absorption. Radiation resistance and biocompatibility are additional advantages.
What is Silicone Rubber Used For?
Silicone rubber is frequently used in a wide variety of products and has many advantageous qualities.
Silicone rubber is a common material for cooking and baking tools because it doesn’t break down in high temperatures and is food safe. The popularity of silicone tools such as spatulas, muffin pans, and many others has grown recently. A large number of other consumer goods, including athletic apparel, storage containers, electronics, cosmetics, and footwear, also contain silicone.
Automotive products, sealants, and insulators are a few examples of silicone’s industrial uses. In addition, silicone is used in a wide range of medical products, including tubing, syringe parts, fluid management components, and more.
How is Silicone Rubber Made?
Silica, a silicone dioxide compound, is the basis of silicone rubber. Silica can be found all over the natural world, but quartz sand is where it can be extracted with the least effort. In order to extract silicon atoms, enormous amounts of quartz sand are heated to 1800°C. Then, methyl chloride and pure silicon are mixed, heated, and distilled to produce polydimethylsiloxane. Molding or extrusion, polymerization, and curing are the process’ final steps.
In terms of performance characteristics, resilience levels, and other characteristics, silicone rubber comes in a wide variety of grades. During the manufacturing process for silicone rubber, these grades are frequently attained through the use of various additives and other alterations.
Read about What Is A Rubber Match?
So, How is Rubber Made?
There are two types of rubber: natural rubber and synthetic rubber. By removing a liquid sap from specific kinds of trees known as latex, natural rubber is produced. In a laboratory, polymer molecules are joined to create synthetic rubber, which is different from natural rubber.
Thank you for reading.