What are the benefits of vulcanised rubber and its uses?

Vulcanised rubber is the result of a process of adding sulfur and additives to natural rubber to give it extra strength and durability. So, what additional qualities does vulcanised rubber possess?

The vulcanisation process shrinks the rubber but allows it to keep its original shape. It also makes it tougher and less likely to deform under pressure. Benefits of using vulcanised rubber include:

  • Less moisture absorption
  • Ability to revert to original shape after stretching
  • Additional resilience
  • Resistant to oxidation and abrasion
  • Strong electrical insulation
  • Able to withstand organic solvents

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As we can see, the benefits of vulcanised rubber are many and this explains why it is used in so many different products. Here are just some of the places where you can find vulcanised rubber:

  • Soles of footwear
  • Hoses
  • Rubbers (stationery)
  • Conveyors
  • Insulation
  • Toys

Rubber has long been a part of the human experience. From the earliest ancient days of the Olmecs in Mexico tapping rubber trees to the tyres on our vehicles, there have been thousands of years of development and refinement and vulcanised rubber has played a large part in this story.

Vulcanised rubber is extensively used for insulating electrical cables and wires, as well as in electrician’s gloves and power transmission. It is also found in rubber bands, tubing in vehicles and aircraft, on bicycles and printing rollers. This versatile material has so many different applications!

The process for making vulcanised rubber is a multi-step one. Rubber is initially placed into a bath of sulfur and various additives. These additives could include a pigment to add colour or an enzyme to speed up the vulcanising process. After this step, the rubber is moulded into its desired shape, which could be anything from tubing to shoe soles. It is hard to mould so it is done immediately after being submerged in the sulfur and additive mix. For more details on Meadex Rubber Moulding, visit a site like Meadex. This company provides a wide range of Meadex Rubber Moulding services.

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Once the moulding has taken place, the vulcanised rubber is baked in a hot oven. The sulfur alone can vulcanise the rubber but by adding heat, the process is sped up and results are improved. The heat required in the chamber is between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit and once this is complete, the moulded rubber is left to cool.

The benefit of using vulcanised rubber over natural rubber is that it has far greater strength and elasticity. It can be stretched much further before suffering any deformation. It is also more resistant to abrasion and is an all-round tougher and more elastic option than natural rubber by up to as much as ten times.

The name ‘vulcanisation’ is an odd one and many wonder where it originated. Vulcan was the Roman god of fire, including volcanoes, metalworking, forges and deserts. So, now it becomes clear that the name was applied due to the adding of sulfur and heat that is employed during the process.

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