December 18

What is Rubber?

raw natural latex

 When you think about rubber do you think, “Where does rubber come from?” or “What uses does rubber have?” or even “Who first used rubber?” All that will be answered and more in this blog post.

What is Rubber?

Rubber is sap from the rubber tree.The rubber tree was originally from the amazon rainforest but thailand and indonesia are the main makers of rubber today.With natural rubber you can make gloves, balloons, realistic masks, and bed mattresses. Natural rubber has a few nicknames like Latex, Amazonian Rubber, and India Rubber.

The first uses of Rubber

ball player

Mesoamerican ball player

The first uses of rubber were in South America and was used a long time ago by the South American natives called Olmecs for a few games. Rubber was later used by the Aztecs and the Mayas.

How Is Natural Rubber Made?

raw natural latex

latex from rubber tree

There are four steps to the process of getting rubber. Step 1: Start tapping, usually once every 2 days with a knife. Step 2: Collect the liquid rubber with small bowls. Step 3: Mix the liquid rubber with formic acid so it becomes solid rubber. Step 4: Press the solid rubber into sheets. Step 5: Ship the rubber to get sold.

Vulcanization of Rubber

rubber tires

vulcanized rubber tires

Vulcanization is something that you can do to rubber to make it harder but still a little bit flexible. Charles Goodyear discovered Vulcanization in 1839. With Vulcanized rubber, you can make car tires, clarinet bells, and shoe soles. Vulcanization is done by “cross linking”. Cross linking is done by mixing the rubber with sulfur at a high temperature.

cross-linked molecules

cross linked rubber molecules

So next time you see a piece of rubber you’ll know a little more about where it came from.

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Posted December 18, 2019 by owen in category Science & Tech, Student Posts

3 thoughts on “What is Rubber?

  1. Leon

    Dear Owen,
    That is a very interesting blog about rubber. It answered a lot of my questions about rubber. I have always wondered how a simple balloon is made! Thanks again Owen for making a great and interesting blog!

  2. dylan558239

    Dear Owen,
    I know we have the same blog post but we’re both good writers. I think you did better than me on rubber. Your post is very good and I really like the details. By the way, how does it get colors like orange and red and much more?


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