To begin with, how is rubber made?
Rubber comes in two varieties: natural and synthetic. Both are constructed differently and come in a variety.
Natural rubber is made from latex, which is produced by trees and plants and is then mixed with acid, water, heat, oxygen, carbon black, and sulfur: made into strong, and flexible rubber.
Through a chemical process, synthetic rubber is created: linking polymer molecules together, and using different chemicals to make different types of synthetic rubber.
For more details on rubber, keep reading.
Table of Contents
What Is Rubber?
Rubber is a flexible material that comes in a variety of shapes and uses. There are two types of rubber: natural rubber and synthetic rubber; the technical term for rubber is an elastomer (polymer).
To make rubber a usable material, both natural and synthetic rubber is processed. The methods differ based on how the finished product will be used. To make rubber stable, chemicals are added to it. Without it, the rubber would become brittle in cold weather and sticky in hot weather.
Rubber undergoes a heat-treatment process called vulcanization to make it strong and long-lasting. Rubber becomes stronger as a result of the heat-induced formation of additional bonds or cross-links between its molecules. Rubber chemicals, by making them more resilient and less energy-intensive, are also essential to this process. The rubber is polished after vulcanization and shaped or molded into the finished product.
How Natural Rubber Is Made
The plant ducts are disturbed when tappers remove the bark of a rubber tree. Afterward, a milky-white substance called latex is released. The latex then flows through the grooves and into big cups, where rubber tappers collect it and send it on its way to be converted into rubber as we know it.
How Is Natural Rubber Made From Latex Processed?
When tappers extract latex sap from rubber trees during the harvesting process, rubber processing technically starts.
After filtering and being packaged in drums, the latex is then sent to be made into sheets. The latex is made clumpy by adding acid to achieve this. In a mill, which removes water for drying and smoking, this clumpy fluid can be rolled into sheets.
Prevulcanization follows, during which chemicals and low, gentle heat are applied to the latex sheets.
Businesses mix acid with latex when it’s ready to be transformed into smoked sheets of rubber. The material clumps as a result of this. The fluid that has congealed is then rolled into sheets in a mill. By doing this, the water is removed, allowing the sheets to be dried and smoked.
Finally, latex is pure vulcanized. Chemical processes and low-temperature, gentle heating are used during prevulcanization. The substance becomes the hardened, black rubber that is so well-known to us all after additional heating.
Which Types Of Rubber Are Available?
Although there are many different varieties of rubber, they can be divided into two groups: natural rubber and synthetic rubber.
Today, natural rubber is still used for a variety of products, including toys, flooring, rubber boots, rubber bands, and tires. It is a flexible and long-lasting material. Only applications that won’t be subjected to high temperatures or chemicals, like household items, use natural rubber.
The need for a rubber material that was resistant to heat, ozone, abrasions, and chemicals was essential for the continued growth as manufacturing became more automated across a variety of industries. A variety of different types of synthetic rubber were developed to meet various needs in terms of resistance to temperature ranges, hardness, and ozone degradation.
Synthetic Rubber: What Is It?
Petrochemicals are used in chemical plants to produce synthetic rubber, including neoprene (polychloroprene) and emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR), the synthetic rubber used in the majority of car tires.
Oil, coal, or other hydrocarbons are used to create naphtha, which is then refined to create synthetic rubber. In order to create monomers like butadiene, styrene, isoprene, chloroprene, ethylene, or propylene, naphtha is next combined with natural gas.
The material is then polymerized with the aid of a catalyst and process steam. As a result, chains of polymers come together to form rubber, which is then vulcanized further as necessary.
Natural Rubber Versus Synthetic Rubber Properties
Due to the wide range of industrial market applications, there are numerous forms of synthetic rubbers available. Styrene-butadiene rubber, polybutadiene rubber, and polyisoprene rubber are a few examples.
The properties of synthetic rubber vary depending on the form because it is used in such a wide range of applications. But generally speaking, it’s important to be aware of a few key distinctions between natural and synthetic rubber.
Natural Rubber Properties
Because of its high tensile strength, natural rubber resists tearing and chipping from wear. However, exposure to heat, light, and ozone is more likely to cause damage. It is frequently found in tire tread due to its tacky characteristics, particularly toward steel cords.
Synthetic Rubber Properties
When compared to natural rubber, synthetic rubber is more abrasion-resistant. Additionally, it is a well-liked option for corrosive environments due to its grease and oil resistance.
Additionally, synthetic rubber has a high resistance to heat and time; many of its varieties even have flame resistance. As a result, it is frequently used for electric insulation. Even at relatively low temperatures, synthetic rubber is flexible.
Due to its accessibility and ease of production, synthetic rubber is more frequently used today, especially in situations where it is necessary for it to be resistant to corrosion and extreme temperatures.
Contact ACE Laboratories if you want to test the characteristics of your natural or synthetic rubber in a variety of settings and circumstances.
Read about: Why Is My Car Leaking Oil?
Why Is Rubber A Suitable Material For Wetsuits?
Rubber is high-quality and used in a variety of products. But why do we use rubber for wetsuits? Chloroprene rubber, also known as neoprene, is the primary material used to make wetsuits. A synthetic rubber is neoprene. Why is this neoprene a great material for wetsuits?
A Good Insulator Of Heat
Rubber is primarily utilized in wetsuits for this reason. it doesn’t conduct heat, therefore. Because it contains so many tiny air or gas bubbles, neoprene in particular is a good insulator. As a good insulator, air is well known.
Rubber is impermeable, meaning it won’t let water through or absorb it. Additionally, exposure to water will not weaken or degrade the material’s strength or quality.
Good Elasticity And Flexibility
Although some types of rubber are more elastic than others, all types of rubber are elastic. The vulcanization procedure used in manufacturing largely determines how flexible a product is. Stretch and flexibility in wetsuits are essential.
Strong And Durable
Rubber’s strength and durability are two more excellent qualities. It is highly resilient against tearing and has a high tensile strength. Its incredible durability is second only to its strength.
So, how is rubber made?
Cutting a hole in the bark of the trees and collecting the runny sap in cups is how latex is harvested from them. Tapping is the name of this procedure. Ammonia is added to stop the sap from setting up. Coagulation is the process that is used to extract the rubber after adding acid to the mixture.
By removing a liquid sap from specific kinds of trees known as latex, natural rubber is produced. There are more than 2,500 different tree species that can yield this sap, including plants like dandelion, but the Hevea brasiliensis tree, also known as the rubber tree, provides the vast majority of latex used in the manufacture of rubber. Although they originated in South America, these trees are now widely distributed in Southeast Asia.