Rubber has been used in engineering applications for well over one hundred years.
Yet engineers and designers have difficulty in correlating the terms and expressions used by the rubber technologist with those they use themselves. Tensile strength, hardness, elongation and creep, for example are terms familiar to engineers but their meaning in rubber technology can often be quite different.
What is rubber?
Rubbers are loosely described as materials which show ‘elastic’ properties. Such materials are generally long chain molecules known as ‘polymers’ and the combination of elastic and polymer has led to the alternative name of ‘elastomers’. Rubbers and elastomers will be considered to be synonymous in this work.
One easily understood definition of a rubber or elastomers is a material which at room temperature can be stretched repeatedly to at least twice its original length and upon immediate release of the stress, will return with force to approximately its original length.