Vulcanization of Rubber: Mystery Revealed

Many everyday things are made of rubber.

From the soles of your shoes to hockey pucks, toys, erasers, hoses and the rubber coating of industrial vessels.

Actually, most of the rubber products in the world exist due to the vulcanization of rubber.

Here’s what you need to know about the process.

What is vulcanization of rubber?

Chemicals are used to transform rubber from its natural, soft state into the strong, durable substance you’re familiar with.

You wouldn’t be able to do much with rubber in its natural, stretchy state.

Vulcanization is the strengthening process the rubber goes through.

The process involves introducing “accelerators” – sulfur and other additives – into the rubber as a way to connect the polymer chains already naturally existing in rubber.

Once the vulcanization process is complete, it can be used commercially as the durable, strong, non-stick material you’re used to.

Vulcanization of rubber happens via two processes.

Free vulcanization

In this scenario, extremely not steam is passed throughout the rubber.

The process takes about eight hours to run its course, though chemical activators can be added to make things move along more quickly.

Pressure vulcanization

This is the most common method for vulcanization of rubber.

The rubber is heated to 150 degrees C with sulfur and pressure.

There are other chemicals and agents that are often used, like fillers to enhance the strength and resistance to wear, or the reinforcing agent, carbon black.

A careful process

Whether you’re using free vulcanization or pressure vulcanization, you have to be careful.

Both processes require a close attention to detail and a mistake could ruin the final product or even be dangerous.

Pigments can be added to create colored rubber, as well as special chemicals that can protect the color and ensure its durability.

Vulcanization of rubber benefits

There are countless uses for vulcanized rubber.

Once it goes through the strengthening process, it’s 10 times stronger and more durable than it is in its natural state.

This durability makes it suitable for many purposes.

Without vulcanization of rubber, we wouldn’t have access to as many products or have nearly the ability to do many of the things we can.

Work with seasoned pros

If you’re interested in increasing your rubber vulcanization manufacturing productivity or you just want to streamline your process, get in touch with Tank Fab today.

Author: Jeffrey Lippincott

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