The Universal Selection Source: Polymer Additives

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Overview of vulcanization system & acceleration: Advantages, drawbacks, influences on process and properties...

SpecialChem / Feb 4, 2004

The unique property of rubber is that it is elastic. When rubber is stretched, the molecular bonds can be extended out. When released, the molecules coil back to their original shape. Vulcanization (vulcanisation in Europe) is the process of cross-linking elastomer molecules to make the bulk material harder, less soluble and more durable. It is the heart of the art and science of rubber compounding. In its raw state rubber consists of long randomly kinked hydrocarbon chains which can slide past each other. Raw rubber is therefore plastic, weak and permanently deformable. The purpose of vulcanization (also called curing) is to chemically link the rubber chains together by "crosslinks" to form a three-dimensional network. For which applications ? For what advantages ? Raw Rubber looses its rubber-like properties at temperatures above 60 °C. Also its wear resistance and tensile strengths are low. The process of vulcanization can improve the quality of rubber. Raw rubber is heated during vulcanization. This makes the rubber hard, more elastic and strong.

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