How is rubber made:- Rubber is a very popular and durable material that is used to make a wide variety of products, including elastic bands, boots, swimming caps and hoses. In fact, half of all rubber produced is used to make tyres for automobiles.
How is rubber made and where does it come from? For over 1000 years, humans have used the robust and elastic qualities of rubber to produce goods.
While early types of rubber were extracted from natural sources, as demand for the material grew, scientists produced artificial or synthetic rubber in laboratories that closely resembled the natural material. The majority of rubber manufactured nowadays is synthetic.
WHERE DOES RUBBER COME FROM?
Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka produce the bulk of the world’s rubber. Brazil brought the world the Hevea Brasiliensis rubber tree but it no longer plays a major role in the natural rubber trade.
In 1876, Henry Wickham, a local planter exported seeds from the Amazon region of Brazil to London. Later that year, the seeds were germinated at the Tropical Herbarium in Kew Gardens.
Seedlings were shipped to Ceylon from there (Now Sri Lanka). 22 seedlings were sent from Ceylon to Singapore in 1877, where they thrived and the tapping technique was established.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF MAKING RUBBER?
Compounding is the process of customising rubber for a specific application by adding chemicals and other additives. With ice, natural rubber becomes brittle and with heat, it becomes a sticky, gooey mess.
During the vulcanizing process, chemicals added during compounding react with the rubber to stabilise the rubber polymers. Additional additives can include reinforcing fillers to strengthen the rubber’s properties or non reinforcing fillers to stretch the rubber and save money.
The type of filler used is determined by the end product. Carbon black is the most widely used reinforcing filler. Carbon black boosts the tensile strength and abrasion resistance of rubber.
Rubber’s resistance to ultraviolet oxidation is also improved by carbon black. Because of the carbon filler, most rubber goods are black.
Other additives used can include anhydrous aluminium silicates as reinforcement fillers, recycled rubber, fatigue reducing compounds, antioxidants, ozone resistant chemicals, colouring pigments, plasticizers, softening oils and mould release compounds, depending on the intended usage of the rubber.
It is necessary to thoroughly mix the additives into the rubber. Due to the rubber’s high viscosity, mixing is difficult without vulcanizing it.
The mixing is normally performed in two stages to avoid premature vulcanization. Additives such as carbon black are blended into the rubber during the first step.
A masterbatch is the name given to this combination. Vulcanization chemicals are applied and blended into the rubber after it has cooled.
Extrusion, calendering, painting or moulding and casting are the four methods for shaping rubber products. Depending on the finished product, more than one shaping technique can be used
. Extrusion is the process of pressing rubber into a series of screw extruders. Calendering is the process of passing rubber across a series of smaller gaps between rollers.
Extrusion and calendering are combined in the rolle die phase, resulting in a better product. The calendering method is used in coating to apply a rubber coat or to push rubber into cloth or other materials.
Rubber coated materials are used to make tyres, waterproof fabric tents and raincoats, conveyor belts and inflatable rafts. Moulds are used to make rubber goods such as shoe soles and heels, gaskets, caps, suction cups and bottle stops.
Moulding is another step in the tyre making process. Compression moulding, transfer moulding and injection moulding are the three main methods of moulding rubber. The rubber is vulcanised during the moulding process rather than as a separate phase.
Vulcanization is the final step in the rubber making process. The process of vulcanization, which creates cross-connections between rubber polymers, varies depending on the specifications of the final rubber product.
Rubber that has less cross-connections between the polymers is smoother and more pliable. The elasticity of the rubber is reduced as the number of cross-connections increases, resulting in harder rubber.
Rubber would be sticky when hot and brittle when cold without vulcanization, and it would rot much faster. Vulcanization, first discovered in 1839 by Charles Goodyear, involved the addition of sulphur to rubber and a five hour heat treatment at 137 degrees Celsius.
From the time to 15 to 20 minutes, modern vulcanization uses smaller quantities of sulphur mixed with other chemicals. Alternative sulfur free vulcanization techniques have also been developed.
Learn About :- What Is Vulcanized Rubber? – Properties, Applications, Uses
TYPES OF RUBBERS
1. HOW IS NATURAL RUBBER PRODUCED?
Natural rubber is extracted from a rubber shaft and then treated with chemicals and heat for use in production. The tree is cut and the sap flows through a cup. One third of the latex is rubber at this stage, retained in a colloidal suspension and one third is water.
Latex is refined into rubber by combining it with formic acid, which causes the rubber to coagulate into curds, which are then washed and pressed into blocks or sheets for the smoking process.
Then the rubber is put through the mastication machinery to make it more practical and then mixed with chemicals to improve its properties.
It’s then formed into a shape either by calendaring or extrusion and vulcanised to make it more durable, elastic and resilient. Even though artificial rubber was invented in the 1930s, natural rubber is still used today making up a little under half the market.
2. HOW IS SYNTHETIC RUBBER PRODUCED?
The key raw material used to make synthetic rubber forms is petrochemical feedstocks. The primary raw material is crude oil. In the category of synthetic rubber two types of gases also play a role in the production of general types.
Butadien is used to make Butadiene Rubber and styrene is used to make Styrene Butadiene Rubber. Butadiene is a petroleum refining byproduct and styrene is captured either in the coking phase or as a byproduct of petroleum refining.
When these two gases combine in the presence of soapsuds in a reactor, liquid latex is formed. The dry rubber is coagulated into crumbs, washed, dried and baled for shipment in this milky liquid.
3. HOW IS SILICONE RUBBER PRODUCED?
Silicon Rubber is made by isolating silicon atoms from the silicon dioxide compound silica. This is accomplished by heating vast quantities of quartz sand to temperatures exceeding 1800°C.
From here, silicon is mixed with methyl chloride and heated in a variety of ways. It is then refined into polydimethylsiloxane.
After that, the polydimethylsiloxane can be polymerized. Depending on the intended use of the finished product, this can be accomplished using a range of techniques.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- IS RUBBER NATURAL OR MANMADE?
We get rubber from two places: nature and man. Natural rubber is extracted from planted trees on Asian and African plantations. Synthetic rubber is a manmade material that is synthesised from petroleum and other minerals in manufacturing plants all over the world.
2. IS RUBBER MADE FROM OIL?
Natural rubber is a substance extracted from the sap of rubber trees called latex. Man discovered how to produce the majority of rubber from hydrocarbons and sulphur over time. Since hydrocarbons are mainly extracted from crude oil, man made rubber can be said to be reliant on crude oil stocks for its raw materials
3. WHERE IS NATURAL RUBBER USED?
Natural rubber is an essential raw material that is used to produce more than 40,000 different goods. It is used in manufacturing medical instruments, surgical gloves, planes and car tyres, pacifiers, clothing, and toys, among other things.
That’s the only thing I have to say about. You’ve learnt everything there is to know about the manufacturing of rubber. Rubber has been produced for over 1000 years, and humans have relied on its durability and elasticity to make a range of products.
While early types of rubber were extracted from natural sources, scientists developed artificial or synthetic rubber in laboratories. Check out our previous articles for more detail, or follow us on Instagram to stay up to date