Of all the materials used in commercial and industrial construction, rubber is one of the most useful and versatile. It is easily molded into new shapes and sizes, and it is highly elastic, reacting exceptionally well to stress and strain. Though natural rubber is available and commonly used in industrial manufacturing, synthetic rubber is more highly controlled and has more specific properties. Synthetic rubber is made from various petroleum-based monomers and petroleum byproducts. One of the most common and most practical forms into which both natural and synthetic rubber may be molded is the rod. Rubber rods are simply solid or hollow formed rubber, fabricated in the shape of a rod. Though they can be sold as hair curlers, typically, rubber rods are made not as independent products, but as products used to create other products. Because they are a stock product, they can be purchased for use in virtually any market, including: aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer products, electronics, furniture, HVAC, medical device, plumbing, point of purchase and sports and recreation. Some of the products into which rubber rods can be converted or implemented into include: rubber bulbs, drain openers, potentiometers, enclosures, flexible connectors, aerospace anti-vibration equipment, wrist physical therapy exercise bars, vehicle restoration parts, gaskets, seals and backing material.
Rubber rods are generally made using the extrusion process. Extrusion is a fairly straightforward procedure, during which raw rubber stock is gathered and piled into a hopper, then dumped from the hopper into a space called a conveyance channel. The conveyance channel is designed to help the raw rubber move down towards the die, or metal preform. The rubber is also assisted by a long screw, which turns as the rubber goes past, building pressure. Between this pressure, the pressure exerted by the extruder and the increasing heat put out by the extruder, the rubber eventually becomes semi-molten and malleable. Once it has become malleable, the rubber material is forced into the die, which has been readied with the exact shape the manufacturers wish the rubber to take. As it goes through the die, the rubber fills out and takes on its shape. After it passes through the die, it is allowed to harden and cool. From here, the newly extruded rubber rods may be trimmed or cut before final shipment or they may be sent on to receive more treatment. One such treatment is vulcanization, a chemical process that converts natural or synthetic rubber into more durable versions of themselves while the rubber is heated and under pressure. It achieves this by adding curatives and/or accelerators, like sulphur, peroxide, urethane crosslinkers, metallic oxides or acetoxysilane. Rubber rods can also be modified using other finishing processes, in to be more chemical and temperature resistant. In addition, it is typically available in an array of different colors.
Some of the rubber types with which rubber rods may be made include: polyurethane, neoprene, silicone, Hypalon, EPDM, butyl, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), nitrile and natural rubber. Every rubber composition offers different qualities relating to factors like hardness levels, elasticity, tensile strength, thermal stability, permeability/liquid resistance, weight and corrosion resistance. EPDM (ethylene propylene monomer (M-class)), for instance, is an elastomer that is chosen for its very impressive temperature resistance, ozone resistance and weather resistance, exceptional ultraviolet (UV) light resistance and good steam, water, acids, alkalis and oxygenated solvent resistance. EPDM also maintains flexibility at low temperatures and exhibits a useful amount of electrical insulation characteristics.
Rubber rods can be made to adhere to commercial, military or industry-specific standards. Some standards to which rubber rod customers may be beholden include US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) standards, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials International) standards, US DOD (United States Department of Defense) standards, AIA (American Institute of Architects) standards, ISO (International Standards Organization) standards and GSA (General Services Administration) standards. The most successful rubber product shopper will educate himself or herself on these standards, so that he or she can communicate more clearly with his or her chosen manufacturer. However, if a customer is not familiar with these standards, he or she need not worry, as a proper manufacturer will be fully familiar with them. The the material choices available to rubber rod customers, along with the options of shapes, dimensions and colors, allow them great freedom; no matter their application, they will certainly be able to find the product they seek. The right manufacturer will be able to give them sound advice and supply them with the perfect standard or custom order. To find a manufacturer with proven worth, browse the many companies listed on this page.
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