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Rubber, Types of rubber

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi



The robber is a very important engineering material for any nation as it is widely used for military accessories, the most important one being type industry.

India is the fifth largest natural rubber producing country in the world after Malaysia. Indonesia. Thailand and Sri Lanka. Kerala State accounts for about 91 per cent of the total area under rubber industry and for Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, the percentage is about 5 per cent. The remaining 4 per cent area is located in Karnataka. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa, Maharashtra and north eastern States. The total area under rubber cultivation in the country is about 522000 hectares.

The rubber consumption during I995-96 was about 53 lakh kN and the production was about 51.10 lakh kN It is estimated that by the year 2000 A.D., the demand for rubber would go upto 70 lakh kN and the production would be about 65 lakh kN. In 2010 the consumption was about 98 lakh kN and the production was about 90 lakh kN.

Columbus is understood to have discovered rubber during his second voyage to America towards the end of the fifteenth century. He reported the existence of a gum which was used by the natives of America for making balls used in games. In Englishman used the term number when he observed that the substance could be used for removing the pencil marks. The commercial use of rubber came into existence with the discovery of process known as the vulcanization in year 1836 by Good Year

Types of rubber

The rubber is of the following two types:

(1) Natural rubber;

(2) Synthetic rubber.

(1) Natural rubber: This variety of rubber is obtained from latex or a viscous milky juice tapped from rubber trees. These trees grow in hot moist climate in a region about 12 degrees on either side of the equator and they are abundant in countries Eke Ceylon, Malaya, North Africa, Mexico, Singapore, etc. A rubber is a fast growing large tree.

The natural rubber has high strength, low hysteresis and good resistance to tear and flex cracking. But it is easily affected by gasolines and solvents.

The process of obtaining natural rubber is carried out in the following four stages:

(i) Plantation

(ii) Tapping latex

(iii) Purification

(iv) Coagulation.

(i) Plantation: The rubber trees are planted. They start oozing out after a period of about 5 to 7 years and continue to ooze out for a life of about 30 years. A normal rubber tree gives about 10 N to 15 N of dry rubber per year.

(ii) Tapping latex: A vertical groove about 600 mm long is made in the rubber tree by means of a pointed knife at a height of about i metre from the ground level. The vertical groove is connected to slanting grooves inclined upwards. An earthenware pot is attached at the lower end of vertical groove to collect the latex that oozes out of the tree. The latex from the pot is taken by the tapper every day or every alternate day and at that time, the grooves are slightly widened. The care should be taken to see that the grooves do not penetrate beyond the cambium layer of the tree.

(iii) Purification: The impurities such as leaves, sand, debris, etc. which are present in fresh latex are then removed.

(iv) Coagulation: The latex is then converted into a massive form by the process of coagulation. The coagulant usually adopted is weak acetic acid. The addition of coagulant converts latex into curd like form. It is then passed through rollers. The water from latex is thus separated out and the natural rubber is obtained in the form of globules or sheets.

(2) Synthetic rubber: The term synthetic or artificial rubber was conceived through research and development as a polymer which could be used to replace the natural rubber. Even as carly as 1940, there were several polymers on the market which could be used as replacements for the natural rubber in some applications. The real beginning of a synthetic rubber industry then started in U.S.A., Germany and other foreign countries.

The synthetic robbers can be grouped in the following two categories:

(i) General purpose synthetic rubbers: These rubbers are used freely in wide ranging applications. The most important all-purpose rubber was then and still is a styrene-butadiene rubber. It was called earlier in U.S.A and Canada as GR-S and in Germany as Buna-S. However it is now referred to as SBR all over the world and it forms nearly 50 per cent of the world production capacity of all types of the synthetic rubbers. The other synthetic rubbers in this category are Polybutadiene Rubber (PB.R.), Polyisopren Rubber (P.I.R), etc.

(ii) Special purpose synthetic rubbers: These rubbers are developed with a special end use in view and they include Butyl, Nitnile, Chloroprene EDPM, Acrylic, Polysulphide, Silicone, Viton, etc. For instance, Butyl rubber is used for the air impermeability.

The world production of the synthetic rubber is shared by the different countries as follows:

The first synthetic rubber plant of India, Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. was set up at Bareilly in U.P. in 1961. It is manufacturing S.B.R. The other two plants The Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. and Apar Ltd. - have been subsequently installed.


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