Rubber is a versatile and remarkably useful material, used in a multitude of items, from tires and the soles of shoes to elastic bands and more. Yet what is behind the manufacturing process of such products? As it turns out, special compounds known as active agents play a key role in transforming natural rubber into valuable, useful goods.
What Are Active Agents?
Active agents are lubricating or softening compounds added to natural rubber in order to increase its performance. These often consist of varying materials, such as waxes, soaps, surfactants and polymers, that allow rubbing to be easily processed during the manufacturing process and worked into the desired shape it is needed for.
The Benefits of Active Agents
Active agents bring about a multitude of advantages when used in rubber production. Perhaps the most prominent of these is that they offer an “improved feel” to the end user, greatly increasing comfort upon use. They can also improve the grip of rubber items on surfaces and even provide the consumer with a pleasant aroma.
Active agents are also water-resistant, which means they can easily be cleaned and wiped off without losing their performance. This is a great plus to many items, such as tires and soles, that need to both perform well and avoid wear and tear quickly.
Finally, active agents can help reduce the costs of production, as they make rubber easier to work with. This means that expenses on machinery and production time are greatly lowered than they might otherwise be without their presence.
The Types of Active Agents
Active agents come in many forms depending on the application they need to meet. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Waxes: Waxes are often added in the form of solid or liquid and can increase the elasticity of rubber.
- Soaps: Soaps are water soluble and so add to the water resistance of rubber.
- Surfactants: Surfactants are surface active compounds and can affect the pliability of rubber.
- Polymers-based products: These are compounds of various lengths that are added to increase rubber strength.
As we have seen, active agents are invaluable in the process of turning raw rubber into useful items such as tires and soles. Adding these compounds to the recipe yields a multitude of benefits, including improved feel, maximized strength and reduced production costs. If you are ever in need of a product that requires rubber, then keep in mind the benefits of adding the right active agents to the mixture.