Car tires, the hoses that firefighters use, rubber bands, and coatings for industrial vessels.
These are just a small sampling of the wide range of products that are made with vulcanized rubber.
Let’s take a closer look at these transformative processes.
What does vulcanization do?
Vulcanization is a process that involves the use of chemicals to change natural rubber into a stronger, more durable substance.
In its natural state, rubber is somewhat elastic and not as strong as it could be.
Vulcanization developed as a way to strengthen it.
During the process, sulfur and other additives – “accelerators” – are introduced in order to create a way to bridge, or connect the polymer chains that already exist in the rubber.
Once rubber has been vulcanized, it can be used commercially due to its durability, strength, and its non-stick properties.
There are two processes by which rubber is vulcanized.
1. Pressure Vulcanization
This process is the most typical process of vulcanization and involves heating the rubber with the use of sulfur and pressure at 150 degrees C.
Other chemicals and agents can be used throughout the process, such as fillers to increase strength and resistance to wear and tear, or carbon black that acts as a reinforcer.
2. Free Vulcanization
Free vulcanization means that the rubber is vulcanized by passing extremely hot steam throughout the rubbers.
It takes about eight hours for vulcanization to be completed, however, certain chemical activators can be introduced to the process to speed up the time.
A specialized process
Each process for vulcanization is detailed and very thorough, meaning you need to know what you are doing to avoid danger or ruining the end result.
Pigments can also be added to create colored vulcanized rubber, and chemicals can be added to protect the color and durability.
Benefits of vulcanization
There are many positives that can come from the vulcanization of rubber.
It’s 10 times more stronger and more durable than natural rubber and as a result, can be used for many more purposes than natural rubber.
Here’s a sampling of the products that are made with vulcanized rubber.
- Shoe soles
- Hockey pucks
- Bowling balls
- Motor mounts
- Suction cups
- Rubber Seals
- Rubber O-rings
- Hydraulic Hoses, used in such as cranes or forklifts
- Air Hoses, such as the air hose you us to supply air to your nail gun or impact wrench
- Shaped Hoses, such as those used in the automotive industry for radiators and brake lines
With the vulcanization process, we have access to many more products, luxuries, and abilities than we would have otherwise.
Trust the experts
If you’d like to increase your rubber vulcanization manufacturing productivity or make your vulcanization process more streamlined, give us a call and find out what we can do for you.
Do you have a rubber vulcanization manufacturing process that needs to be updated?
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 6/20/17 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.