Originally posted on Hack Alley.
Those of you who watch Star Trek will recognize Vulcan as the planet that Spock is from. If you are familiar with Mythology then you know that Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and metal work. But if you work with anything that is made of rubber you may have heard the word in a different form.
Back in 1839, Charles Goodyear accidnetly spilled a rubber mixture onto a stove. The resulting material was much tougher and resistant then traditional rubber.
This simple mistake has made many of our modern conveniences possible. We drive cars with vulcanized rubber wheels. We walk around on shoes with vulcanized rubber soles. Hockey pucks, baby bottles, that yellow duck that floats in your tub; all made from vulcanized rubber.
Oh The Possibilities
The great thing about the vulcanization process is that it can be controlled to produce a variety of rubber products with different properties.
That is what makes the difference between a hard stiff rubber like a hockey puck an something flexible like the bottom of your running shoes.
Not only does vulcanization allow you to add different characteristics to rubber, it also allows the rubber to be molded into any kind of shape.
This is great because you can make a single piece of rubber into any shape and a single piece is always stronger than something you have glued together. If you have ever had cheap rubber shoes then you know what I mean. Often the adhesive that holds the rubber will deteriorate before you wear down the sole. Then chunks of your shoe fall off.
The same concept applies to industrial equipment. A conveyor belt made out of a single piece of rubber will be more durable then one that is glued together.
Thanks to Goodyear, and all the rubber people since him, we have all these fantastic modern conveniences.
Brought to you by Cambelt.
Image credit: Flickr