Rubber is something that the human race has found useful for millennia – think about the things that you use on a daily basis and many of them are rubber products – tyres on our car, rubber bands and hose pipes are all useful everyday items that are made from rubber, and there are probably many things that you don’t even know are rubber – components for machinery inside our boilers for example!
There are actually many different kinds of rubber nowadays – although it is a product that can be made naturally scientists have created many synthetic types of rubber, so all rubber will be in either the natural rubber category or the synthetic rubber category and each type has different qualities.
Demand for rubber is always high as there is so much that relies on it – companies like this UK rubber moulding company Meadex.co.uk will make many rubber items that then can be used for making a wide range of things.
Getting rubber from the trees is the natural way of obtaining rubber. There are many species of tree that produce the sap known as latex, but the most commonly used tree, aptly known as the rubber tree is a native to South America and the sap is extracted by a process known as rubber tapping. This is something that the native people of central America and south America have been doing for thousands of years – it enabled them to make shoes and clothes that were waterproof.
An incision is made into the bark of the tree which then causes the sap to run out – this sap is natural rubber, and it is collected in cups and containers, before having chemicals added to keep it in a liquid form where it will then need have the water removed from it and be thoroughly dried out before it goes off to embark on the next stage of the manufacturing process.
Synthetic rubber by comparison is a relatively new creation. It wasn’t until the 20th Century that new synthetic rubbers started to be made vin laboratories. Many new types of rubber were created in laboratories, but the one that really caught on was the one created by German company IG Farben in the 1930s. Even today it is one of the most used synthetic rubbers in the world – known as styrene butadiene rubber or SBR.
Another rubber product that really caught on around this time was created by the American company DuPont – something that is still very popular nowadays, Nylon. Neoprene was the forerunner of this revolutionary product and it led to the company creating one of the most used and loved man-made materials in the world!
Larger companies such as those that make tyres for vehicles quickly took an interest in all of these new rubber materials that were being created and as more new processes and types of rubber were coming along, the demand and uses for rubber increased even more.