The Pros And Cons Of Natural Rubber

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We could not go a day without using something that contains rubber. Rubber is in almost everything around us, from pencil grips and erasers to the tires on our cars to our cell phones and laptops. It has become a sort of necessity in everyday life. Rubber has left a significant mark on the world as it has fluctuated to meet the needs of different time periods. There are actually two types of rubber – natural rubber and synthetic rubber. Natural rubber comes from the tree Havea brasiliensis, mainly in the Amazon rainforest. The Native Americans there discovered that they could place the white, milky latex that came out of the trees on a wooden paddle, where the water would evaporate and leave the rest of the substance to cure (Kauffman). The…show more content…
There are numerous types of synthetic rubber, but a common process to make stronger rubber out of natural rubber is called vulcanization. The process of vulcanization cross-links rubber molecules with each other through the heating of the liquid rubber with sulfur (Gotlib). This increases the strength and elasticity by about 10 times (Gotlib) and made the rubber harder and durable in all kinds of weather (Darby). Charles Goodyear created this process in 1839 by accident when attempting to find a way to make rubber stronger and less brittle (Kauffman). The process was named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metal-working (Kauffman). Synthetic rubber is generally cheaper to create; however, it is weaker, has less flexibility, and is less capable of withstanding all the vibrations (Mann, 2015). Over the years, rubber has been used to create the necessary parts, ones so small that they do not seem significant, that hold the whole machine together in our growing technological world. Natural rubber trees are native to the Amazon rainforest in South America, in the countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. When explorers returned to this area, they smuggled seeds for the rubber tree back to their home countries. Hence, the seeds have been dispersed, but most of the commercially-produced rubber is…show more content…
There are really on three ingredients needed to create an industrial revolution: iron, fossil fuels, and rubber (Mann, 2015). The iron creates steel, which creates machines, the fossil fuels are the fuel for those machines, and rubber is what holds the machines together (Mann, 2015). While rubber was never a direct cause for war, it was a main factor for success. In fact, when World War II started, the United States was blocked from their sources of rubber in East Asia, resulting in an urgent need for a new source of rubber (Darby). Additionally, rubber played a small part in the Vietnam War, especially with France owning rubber plantation in South Vietnam with the threat of communism looming over the nation (“French-Owned Rubber,” 1999). The United States also imposed rubber sanctions on China during the Korean War (Mann,

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