Natural Rubber is an elastic substance obtained from the latex sap of trees, especially those trees which belong to the genera Hevea and Ficus. Technically speaking, natural rubber is an elastomer or an elastic hydrocarbon polymer. Natural rubber is one of the types of rubber that also include vulcanized rubber which is finished into a variety of rubber products. Natural rubber is also known by the names of India rubber, gum elastic, and caoutchouc
2.How is Natural Rubber Made?
The raw material from which natural rubber is made comes from the sap of rubber trees. The rubber plants are tapped for collecting the rubber latex. For this, an incision is made into the bark of the rubber tree and the latex sap is collected in cups. After collecting the latex sap, the raw natural rubber is refined to convert it into a usable rubber. Initially an acid was added to the latex which used to make the sap set like a jelly. The latex jelly thus obtained was then flattened and rolled into rubber sheets and hung out to dry. In the year 1839, Charles Goodyear invented a more sophisticated way of making rubber stronger and more elastic. This was the process of rubber vulcanising. The unprocessed natural rubber is sticky, deforms easily when warm, and is brittle when cold. In such a state, it cannot be used to make products having a good level of elasticity. Vulcanization prevents the polymer chains from moving independently. As a result, when stress is applied the vulcanized rubber deforms, but upon release of the stress, the product reverts to its original shape.