In the late 1930s, the United States used over half of […]
In the late 1930s, the United States used over half of the world's natural rubber supply. Today, natural rubber can be found in over 50,000 manufactured products in the United States, and the U.S. imports over 3 billion pounds of natural rubber each year. Over 70 percent of rubber used in modern manufacturing processes, however, is synthetic rubber.
Background of Natural Rubber
Natural rubber begins as latex. Latex consists of the polymer called polyisoprene suspended in water. Long-chain molecules composed of many (poly) individual units (mers) connected together form polymers. Rubber is a special form of polymer called an elastomer, meaning that the polymer molecules stretch and flex.China Rubber O Rings Suppliers
More than 2,500 plants produce latex, a milk-like sap-type material. Milkweed might be most familiar latex-producing plant to many people, but commercial latex comes from a single tropical tree, Hevea brasiliensis. As the name suggests, the rubber tree originated in tropical South America. Over 3,000 years ago, Mesoamerican civilizations mixed latex with morning glory juice to create rubber. Changing the ratio of latex to morning glory juice changed the properties of the rubber. From bouncy balls to rubber sandals, the Mesoamericans knew and used rubber.