Rubber is used in an extraordinary amount of modern products and products all throughout history. Without rubber, we wouldn’t have a number of technologies that we take for granted. From products in the food processing industry, boilers, and cars to aeroplanes, and gas pipes; rubber is vital for sealing and connecting parts in a number of manufacturing processes, and without it the products would not function efficiently or be safe.
To make sure you know a bit about the history and the origins of natural rubber, I’ll give a quick summary below.
Natural rubber originally came from the Pará tree which is found in South America. Upon discovering this tree for the first time themselves, the British Empire introduced the rubber tree to its former colonies which include India, Malaysia and Singapore. These countries are now the top producers of rubber. Rubber does not come directly from the trees, however. Latex comes from these trees as a sticky and milky substance taken out of the tree by cutting its bark. The latex was then refined into rubber for industries to use to make products for selling.
Rubber has a number of properties that mean it must be handled carefully and used in a specific way. Natural rubber in its original, raw form is vulnerable to vulcanisation and ozone cracking as it is composed of polymer polyisoprene along with several other materials such as resins and fatty acids. Polymer polyisoprene can be made synthetically. When this is done, however, it is called, “synthetic natural rubber.”
Despite natural rubber being sensitive due to its specific chemical properties, there are many benefits to using rubber when manufacturing a wide variety of products. It is no surprise that rubber is used in and depended on for so many different things that we use in everyday life.
Once natural rubber has been refined and processed so that it can be moulded and used for commercial processing, it has a number of advantages. The first advantage is that it has a large stretch ratio making it the perfect material for moulding. What makes it ideal for plumbing and in car manufacturing is that it has a high resilience and is very waterproof.
Some examples of where natural rubber is used when it’s no longer in its raw form, is extensive and virtually unlimited. It is used for tyres, gaskets, washers, O-rings, electrical safety matting, seals and many more things including products for containing food and beverages due to its natural antibacterial properties.
Hopefully you have learnt a lot from this overview of natural rubber. It is a material that we come into contact with every day, but take for granted. It is amazing that it all comes from a tree. If you want to find out more about the uses of rubber and more specifically Rubber Moulding UK, you can visit Meadex.co.uk. As stated on their website, Meadex provides “compounds that are flame retardant, chemical resistant, military grade, WRAS / Water Safe / Water Council / British Gas approved, and that comply with Food Quality Standards / FDA, Medicine & Healthcare regulations and British Standards” which are all made from rubber.