PRIVATE PROPERTY DO NOT ENTER MY HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT THE VACCINE DOORMAT
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The Magic of Rubber Matting
Vulcanization, invented in the 19 th Century, makes all the difference when it comes t building a comfortable and flexible mat. Modern floor mats are so efficient because this process of treating natural materials makes them more durable for heavy duty applications while keeping them flexible enough to maintain contours that don’t erode.
The usage of flexible plastics is not actually new. As far back as 1600 BCE, from the Olmecs (1500 BCE to 400 BCE) to the Aztecs (1100 ACE to 1522 ACE), rubber was cured in a process similar to vulcanization. While the chemistry involved probably wasn’t extremely well understood, when natural latex was mixed with juice of certain vines, a durable material similar to modern rubbers could be made.
The modern process of vulcanization was invented sometime in the 19 th century, though the exact inventor isn’t fully known. A man named Thomas Hancock had the first patent on the vulcanization of rubber, but it was actually Charles Goodyear, of tire company fame, that likely came up with the underlying mechanism behind its creation. Though the invention of vulcanization was immensely important, it was likely an accidental discovery.
Today’s modern floor mats aren’t made through this process. In fact, the processes that are used today are much faster, stronger, and more reliable than what was originally thought up by Charles Goodyear almost 200 years ago. The modern creation of good mats depends on accelerating agents which catalyze the bonding of sulfur to rubber. This allows for much shorter cure time and significantly less energy for production. Then first example of this is credited to Goerg Oenslager, who theorized and proved that thiocarbanilide can catalyze the bonding of sulfur with rubber. Currently, there are five common systems of curing rubber: sulfur systems, metallic oxides, metallic oxides, peroxides, urethane crosslinkers, and acetoxysilane.
The invention that was necessary for today’s exceptionally efficient rubber matting is the bonding of non-woven synthetic fabrics directly to rubber. The adhesion between fabrics, which absorb liquids and serve as an abrasive on the bottom of shoes, and rubber ridges, which then allow for fluid collection, was the last step in efficient entry mats. Somewhere during the 1940’s there was a confluence between rubber production and fabric adhesion. While the science behind this is quite advanced, it’s important to understand that as with every other form of manufacturing there are now multiple working processes including: hot calendaring, belt calendaring, through-air thermal bonding, ultrasonic bonding, and radiant-heat bonding. We’ve truly come a long way from tree bark and woven fibers
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