“How can we improve the properties of rubber using engineering?”


Rubber is a very useful material. It can be found in almost every facet of life, from the cars for our commute to the gloves that we wear to the soles of shoes. However, how can we make this material even stronger? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. Rubber is naturally composed of strands of singular polymer chains. However, if we were to introduce some sulfur into this medium, then some of the C-H bonds will be broken and replaced with C-S bonds, resulting in a cross-linked material. This makes the structure much stronger and more rigid while maintaining its elasticity. This process is known as vulcanization and is used in the manufacturing procedure of a wide range of items, such as hockey pucks and bouncing balls.

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