Rubber products are made from two sources: natural and synthetic rubber. The former comes from trees while the latter is through a chemical process. Irrespective of how you get it, rubber has an interesting feature of going through a deformation before bouncing back to its original form. In as much as natural rubber is used in numerous products, there are some limitations that render it insufficient. That is why synthetic forms of rubber are used to bridge the gap in shortcomings. The truth is that there are no products made from standard rubber. Majority of the products you see around are customized depending on their intended use.
Formulation of rubber products is seen as an art. This is because of the chemical processes involved where a number of ingredients are mixed. The following are taken into consideration when a rubber product is being made:
- Dynamism: Rubber is unique in the sense that it can endure deformations. Take for instance a rubber balloon that children play with. When you blow air into the balloon, it stretches and expands. Deflate it and it goes back to the way it was. Therefore, rubber manufacturers take into consideration of this fact. Rubber has to be tough in a way that it endures constant stress such as being twisted, stretched or compressed.
- Resistance to chemicals: Rubber products work in the midst of chemical processes. In auto and industrial engines, the products work alongside engine oils and gasoline. On the other hand, there is equipment where corrosive acids, alkali and other solvents pass through. The passage mode is through rubber tubing. If the tubing products are not well formulated, they will crumble or dissolve under the harsh reaction of corrosive chemicals.
- Environmental resistance: In addition to being able to remain intact against a backdrop of chemical elements, products made from rubber should remain intact under extreme weather. Take for instance the rubber rings in a car’s engine. When such a car is parked outside under freezing conditions, the rings are not expected to freeze over. On the other hand, when the car owner starts the engine the next morning, the rubber rings will be good to go even when the engine’s temperature rises.
- Rubber formulation: With these challenges in place, it takes a qualified and experienced scientist to formulate rubber products that meet the consumers’ expectations. The industrial formulators first get to understand what the product will be expected to do. They then look at the conditions or challenges the products will be exposed to.
With such considerations in mind, dozens of recipes can be formulated in order to create the required rubber compounds. Before its release into the market, a rubber product is supposed to be vigorously tested in a quality standards laboratory.
With rubber products, you can get them in any form desired. In this industry, customizations are the norm hence the reason rubber is so marketable.