Natural Rubber - Quality and processing aspects
N. Levin FPRI, Consultant Trelleborg Lanka (PVT) Ltd., Sweden
Natural rubber (NR) was for over 50 years the sole polymer available for manufacturing of rubber products. When synthetic rubber was introduced, mainly after the second world war, most rubber converters complained about the difficulties to process the new rubber types.
The reasons for complaints were obvious. Machinery and techniques used were develo-ped to handle natural rubber and the rubber technicians had learned how to handle it.
Over the next three decades the use of synthetic rubber increased, finally ending up in the situation of today when 60% of all polymers used are synthetic. The remaining NR rubber is used in products where it is gives superior properties, as in heavy tyres and engineering products. During the last 15 years the demands on product performance as well as processing behaviour have increased tremendously. The converters have demanded improved processing properties and better consistency of the raw materials. The synthetic polymer manufacturers have responded quicker to the demands and fruitful discussions have developed between suppliers and users.
The document will discuss a product manufacturer's view on NR specifications and show how developments in compounding, mixing and processing techniques can improve the production results.