What is Rubber?

            The history of rubber is probably as old as that of nature. Three million year old fossils of rubber producing plants have been found. Rubber has become indispensable in modern life. Being a highly elastic organic material, it can be stretched eight times its original length. It has innumerable uses in houses, industries, hospitals, farms and toys, and in day to day life.

Synthetic Rubber adhesive tape 

            Rubber is obtained from special platns. In fact, there are more than four hundred kinds of such plants and all produce different quantities of the juice form which rubber is made. The plant which gives the highest yield is called ‘Havea-Brasiliensis’ and is approximately thirty five meters high. Another high yielding plant is Castilla.

            The rubber tree originally grew in Brazil. But in the late 1800s, an Englishmen managed to smuggle some seedlings, which were then cultivated in London’s Kew Garden and some in Ceylon. The worlds largest produces of natural rubber today is Malaysia. Rubber is made of white milky liquid latex, which is obtained from the tree by tapping. Latex seeps out through spiral cuts made in the bark of the tree. It is then allowed to become solid coagulate, colored, dried and exported as sheets of raw rubber. This is a weak, sticky and not very elastic material. The addition of sulphur in a process known as vulcanization or curing improves the strength and elasticity of rubber. The strength and wear resistance of rubber are improved by the addition of carbon black, silica and cotton flock.

            The first useful synthetic rubbers were produced during world war II. Synthetic rubber is used in automobile industries, as it is resistant to chemicals. Silicon rubber is a fairly recent development. The molecules of silicon atoms preset, unlike those of carbon in others, make it resistant to extremes of heat and cold. Therefore, they are widely used as seals for jet engines, car tires and hoses.

            Since the mid 1960s, the production of petroleum bases synthetic rubber has far outstripped the production of natural rubber.