Vulcanization refers to the chemical change process in which the linear rubber chains are cross-linked to form a three-dimensional network structure. Subsequent to this, the physical properties and other properties of the rubber have also undergone fundamental changes. The state of the rubber molecular chain before and after vulcanization is shown in the figure.
Rubber vulcanization is a very important stage in the rubber production and processing process, and it is also the last process. This process gives rubber various valuable physical properties and makes rubber a widely used engineering material. It has played an important role in many important sectors and modern cutting-edge technologies such as transportation, energy, aerospace and space development.
Development history of rubber vulcanization system
The vulcanization reaction was discovered by American Charles Goodyear in 1839. He mixed sulfur with rubber and heated it to produce a material with better performance. This discovery is the most important milestone in the history of rubber development. The Englishman Hancock first used this method in industrial production. His friend Brockenden called this production process vulcanization. To this day, rubber technology scientists still use this term.
In 1940, resin vulcanization and quinone oxime vulcanization methods were successively discovered; in 1943, sulfur donor vulcanization was discovered. After the Second World War, new types of vulcanization systems emerged, such as the radiation vulcanization discovered in the 1950s, the urethane vulcanization system in the 1970s, and the equilibrium vulcanization system proposed in the 1980s. Nevertheless, due to the fact that sulfur is cheap and easy to obtain, resources are abundant, and vulcanizates have good properties, it is still the best vulcanizing agent. After more than 100 years of research and development, several basic sulfur vulcanization systems of different levels have been formed.