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the Brazilian rubber-tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). This raw material is usually tapped from the rubber tree, which is native to Amazonia. Although there a large number of species that exude secretions similar to latex when the bark is cut, only a few produce sufficient quantities of a quality adequate for exploitation on economic bases. Thanks to its multiple applications, particularly in the expanding automobile industry, rubber produced from latex tapped from rubber-trees became a product in demand worldwide. Asia came to dominate global supplies of natural rubber with over 90% of the output. The main competitors were Thailand, Malaysia (Indonesia), China and India. By 2001, natural rubber consumption accounted for some 40% of the total amount of rubber consumed worldwide. The world's natural rubber plantations had a grip on the tire industry and during war the need for lower-cost products with steadier supplies in order to manufacture tires was felt strongly. This triggered much interest in discovering the chemical composition of natural rubber and its effect on properties, in order to synthesize this product.
This was how GR-S, Buna S, Hycar OS and SBR appeared. These are styrene and butadiene copolymers. The launch-pad for the massive development of the synthetic rubber industry, this product could be vulcanized easily, and became the flagship of the world rubber industry, although its properties did not correspond to all the qualities of natural rubber. But its costs and main characteristics made it into an unbeatable competitor. Although synthetic rubber had been known since 1875, its production had been expensive and almost negligible. During World War II, a crucial historical episode altered the scenario for this market. On December 7, 1941, the USA entered the War. Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, desperate to take over natural rubber production from the allies. This gave the Axis control over 95% of world rubber supplies, plunging the USA into a crisis. Each Sherman tank contained twenty tons of steel and half a ton of rubber. Each warship contained 20,000 rubber parts. Rubber was used to coat every centimeter of wire used in every factory, home, office and military facilities throughout the USA. There was no synthetic alternative. Looking at all the possible sources, at normal consumption levels, the nation had stocks for around one year. And these reserves also had to supply the largest and most critical industry in the history of the world during a time of rapid expansion: the arms segment. Under these circumstances, an order was sent to all chemists and engineers to develop a synthetic rubber industry. In 1941, the
total output of synthetic rubber barely topped 8,000 tons, consisting largely of products not suitable for tires. The nation's survival depended on its capacity to manufacture over 800,000 tons of products that had barely begun to be developed. There were few detailed instructions on how the factories should organize themselves to produce this vast amount. No facilities had been built, nor were there any ways of producing enough raw materials to produce rubber.
A wide variety of synthetic rubbers have been developed since this product was first discovered. As massive investments were required to develop these different varieties, the production technology was heavily concentrated in long-established global enterprises such as DuPont, Bayer, Shell, Basf, Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin, EniChem, Dow, and Exxon. The use of rubber is widespread, as the characteristics and properties of these elastomers make them useful in almost all economic sectors: automobiles, footwear, civil construction, plastics, hospital materials and others that are of crucial importance in the daily life of society. As they are most widely used to produce tires, the SBR and BR varieties are the most widely consumed type of synthetic rubber.
Product description Rubber is a collective term for macromolecular substances of natural (natural rubber NR) or synthetic origin (synthetic rubber - SR). There were a number of reasons responsible for the development of an alternative or substitute for natural rubber. These included volatile or rising prices for natural rubber on the world market in response to the general state of the economy, political events which cut customers off from the suppliers of raw materials, long transport distances, regional constraints with respect to establishing rubber plantations and the increase in global demand for rubber. Synthetic rubber is a white, crumbly, plastic mass which can be processed and vulcanized in the same way as natural rubber. Synthetic rubber is produced in different ways. Figure 1 illustrates one of the common production processes.
Figure 1: Production process for synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubbers are artificially produced materials with properties similar to natural rubber. Most are obtained by polymerization or polycondensation of unsaturated monomers. A wide range of different synthetic rubbers have emerged, reflecting the various different applications and the chemical and mechanical properties they require. Co-polymerization of different monomers allows the material properties to be varied across a wide range. Polymerization can take place under hot or cold conditions, which result in hot polymers (hot rubber) or cold polymers (cold rubber). Synthetic rubbers are marketed as compressed bales and square blocks. They are also produced in the form of powder rubber, talcum-coated chips, granules and as latex concentrates in liquid form.
Quality/Duration of storage 4
The benefits compared with natural rubber include better oil and temperature resistance and the possibility of a product with an extremely constant quality. Synthetic rubbers made from butadiene (polybutadiene copolymers) rank as the most important synthetic rubbers produced. The following list indicates some of the most important synthetic rubbers along with their properties in comparison with natural rubber. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) General purpose rubber made up of different types; better abrasion resistance, lower elasticity, poorer low-temperature behavior, better heat and aging resistance, excellent electrical insulation material similar to rubber Polybutadiene rubber (BR) Poor processing properties mean that BR is not used on its own, blended with SBR or NR, abrasion-resistant, good elasticity, flexible at low temperatures. Isoprene rubber (IR) Properties largely comparable with natural rubber, more uniform, cleaner, transparent. Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) Oil and fuel resistant, good heat distortion temperature properties, abrasion resistant. Chloroprene rubber (CR) Flame retardant, resistant to grease, oil, weathering and aging, abrasion resistant. Butyl rubber (IIR) Low permeability to gases, resistant to aging, ozone and chemicals, good mechanical properties, abrasion resistant, good electrical insulation properties.
The mechanical properties are improved by adding fillers such as carbon black during vulcanization with sulfur. Temperature resistance, abrasion resistance, aging resistance, resistance to oxygen and chemicals such as acids and petrol are properties which are improved in this way. Duration of storage varies depending on the type of synthetic rubber. For example, a range of 6 - 36 months if the ideal conditions recommended by the manufacturer, such as a storage temperature between 10 and 25°C, are observed. Synthetic rubber must be stowed dry, some synthetic rubbers must be stored cool and they are to be protected from direct sunlight.  Recommended storage duration for synthetic rubber, in particular SBR  Initial storage 5 years 5
Extended storage 2 years
Intended use Like natural rubber, synthetic rubber has a wide range of applications, such as in the tire industry (car, aircraft and bicycle tires), drive belts, hoses, medical equipment, seals, floor coverings, conveyor belts, molded parts. The following list shows the operating temperatures and applications for some important types of synthetic rubber. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) -40 - 100°C Tire industry (treads and carcasses), conveyor belts, seals, technical rubber products Polybutadiene rubber (BR) -80 - 90°C Tires, conveyor belts, clutches, engine bearings, technical products of all types, drinking water seals Isoprene rubber (IR) -40 - 130°C Technical products of all types, especially construction sections, cooling and heating hoses for vehicles, high-performance tires, foodstuffs utensils Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) Operating temperature: up to approx. 110°C Motor vehicle parts, oil and fuel hoses, technical products of all types, plates and mats, rollers, seals and for foodstuffs such as milk Chloroprene rubber (CR) -40 - 110°C Conveyor belts, clutches, drive belts, technical products of all types, pneumatic suspension systems, cables Butyl rubber (IIR) -40 - 150°C Automotive hoses, tire inner liners, seals, membranes, rubberized fabrics, steam hoses, cable insulation 6
Countries of origin All industrial nations.
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Packaging The bales (e.g. 20 - 30 kg) are wrapped in plastic sheeting (e.g. polyethylene) or in boxes lined with polyethylene. Bales are unitized in crates on pallets or with a shrink cover, for instance. Powder rubbers are packed in paper sacks or cardboard boxes lined with polyethylene and palletized. Flexible bulk packages (IBCs, e.g. 500 kg big bags) are also used as packaging. Granulated synthetic rubber is packed in polyethylene sacks and palletized. The polyethylene sacks can additionally be packed in cardboard boxes and then palletized. Flexible bulk packages (IBCs, e.g. 500 kg big bags) can also be used as packaging.
When wooden packaging containers or cargo securing materials are used, it may, under certain circumstances, be necessary to comply with the quarantine regulations of the country of destination (Import regulations for packaging containers made from solid wood - IPPC standard) and a phytosanitary certificate may have to be enclosed with the shipping documents. Information may be obtained from the phytosanitary authorities of the countries concerned. Marking of packages
Keep away from heat (solar radiation) 7
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