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