The Chemistry of Polymeric Rubber

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polymeric rubber

A flexible material containing long chainlike molecules (polymers) that can recover their original shape after being stretched or deformed. Polymeric rubber is derived from natural or synthetic sources and found in many products from car tyres to protective gloves. The molecules making up an elastomer are irregularly coiled, giving the material great elasticity. When a force is applied, they straighten out, and once the load is removed they return to their normal compact, random arrangement. This property gives elastomers their resilience. Lean more

The elastic properties of rubber are dependent on a number of physical changes to the polymer during a process called vulcanization. The chemical reaction that causes these changes is little understood. As a result, rubber technologists have had to learn empirically which physical qualities are advantageous and which are not.

The Science of Safety: Exploring the Wonders of Polymeric Rubber Surfaces

Four common elastomers are cis-polyisoprene (natural rubber, NR), cis-polybutadiene (butadiene rubber, BR), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and ethylene-propylene monomer (EPM). The chemistry of each is similar but there are some differences. The regular cis-polyisoprene and cis-polybutadiene polymers form a close-packed crystal structure and have relatively low elastic moduli, but the styrene butadiene and ethylene-propylene polymers are a more loosely packed material and have higher elastic moduli.

The synthesis and detailed characterisation of two new phosphorus-containing rubbers, poly(1-phospha-1,3-butadiene) and poly(1-phosphaisoprene), demonstrates the flexibility of the chemistry of polymers in general. They can be made by using a range of different monomers, each of which has both a carbon-carbon and a carbon-phosphorus double bond.

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