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All You Need To Know About Vulcanised Rubber

Vulcanisation is a chemical process in which raw rubber is cured. This improves the properties of natural or synthetic rubber, making it stronger and more durable. This discovery revolutionised the rubber industry and has aided the development of other industries as well.

Vulcanised-rubber

© Jean-Michel LECLERCQ / Adobe Stock

History

  • Although the vulcanisation of rubber is considered as a 19th century invention, the history of cured rubber dates back to prehistoric times. Ancient Mesoamericans, both Olmecs (whose name means “rubber people”) and Aztecs, extracted latex from rubber trees. They created processed rubber by mixing a vine juice called Ipomoea Alba with latex in as early as 1600 BC.
  • The process of vulcanisation was named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
  • In 1839, Charles Goodyear, an American manufacturing engineer and self-taught chemist, accidentally discovered the process of vulcanisation, which involves the combination of heating and sulphur.
  • The US patent for the invention was awarded to Goodyear on June 15, 1844.
  • Goodyear wrote the accounts of this invention in his autobiographical book, Gum-Elastica, in 1853.

Process

  • Sulphur and accelerators are added to liquid rubber, which are then heated at a very high temperature.
  • The polymers of rubber are cross-linked into sulphur chains. The properties of the final rubber article are heavily influenced by the number of sulphur atoms in the cross-link.
  • The time allotted for the process depends on the number of sulphur atoms. Less sulphur makes the final product less flexible and more prone to cracking. On the other hand, more sulphur gives the product greater dynamic properties but lower heat resistance.
  • Modern practices employ a temperature of about 140°–180° CAside from sulphur and accelerators, carbon black and zinc oxide are also often added to further improve the qualities of this rubber.

Advantages of vulcanised rubber

  • Has better resistance to damage.
  • Excellent insulator against heat and electricity.
  • Increased flexibility.
  • More rigid and hardwearing.
  • Resistant to water, moisture, chemicals, pressure and sunlight.

Applications

Vulcanised rubber is used to make a wide variety of products, including:

  • Tyres
  • Conveyor Belts
  • Shoe Soles
  • Hoses
  • Toys
  • School Supplies

 

Coruba is the leading UK supplier of all things rubber! Check out our range of rubber products. If you have any special requirements, why not give us a call on 01702 560194?



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