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Origins Of Synthetic Rubber Before World War II

Posted by admin on January 22, 2015


Synthetic rubber origins begin back in 1879, when one form of synthetic rubber was created by a Frenchman Gustave Bouchardat.  He created a polymer of isoprene in his laboratory.  As tires on automobiles increased the Fritz Hofmann-Courtesy of Wikipediademand for rubber, in 1909 a team of German scientists, led by Fritz Hofmann, also created the first true synthetic rubber, which was a polymerized methyl isoprene.  In 1910, Sergei Vasilyevich Lebedev worked with a rubber polymer synthesized from butadiene. This Russian created a form of synthetic rubber that was the basis of the first large scale commercial production before World War I.

In the nineteen-twenties, Rubber prices increased as a result of political problems around the world. Due to fluctuations in price, the cost of natural rubber led to the Stevenson Act in 1921.  Essentially, this Act created a cartel, which regulated production and supported rubber prices. World War I led to shortages of rubber supply and this led the world to search for alternative forms of synthetic rubber.  Later in 1925, natural rubber had soared in price to the point that businesses were exploring methods of creating new synthetic rubber in competition to natural rubber.

In 1931, two scientists Hermann Staudinger (Germany) and Wallace Carothers (United States) invented a new synthetic rubber called Neoprene, a product of DuPont, under the direction of E. K. Bolton.  Highly resistant to heat and chemicals such as oil and gasoline, neoprene had many applications in automotive and industrial machinery.  Later in 1935, German scientists invented a series of synthetic rubber called Buna Rubbers, which are unique, since they use copolymers. These are polymers that are made up of two monomers in alternating sequences.

Firmly in the grasp of World War II, the supply of natural rubber was cut off due to Japanese forces in the South Pacific, the world needed a new supply of synthetic rubbers.

Stern Rubber Company uses many different synthetic rubbers for molding and rubber extrusion. We use synthetic rubber from SBR (Styrene Butadiene), Neoprene, EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer),  Silicone, Butyl, Polyurethane, Nitrile, Epichlorohydrin and Flouroelastomer.  Stern Rubber Company compounds your rubber formula to your needs and mills them on our in-house milling machines.  At Stern Rubber Company knowledge of rubber is what we bring to the table and we have the solutions to meet your needs.