Rubber has been used for centuries, first in the production of tires for wheeled vehicles and later in a variety of other applications. While rubber has come a long way since its primitive beginnings, it still has its limitations: That’s where an active agent (also known as a vulcanizing agent) comes in.
What is an Active Agent?
An active agent is a compound that helps rubber achieve a desirable set of properties. It does this by undergoing a chemical reaction with the rubber molecules and changing them in a specific way. This allows rubber products to undergo vulcanization, a process through which advantageous properties are acquired, including:
- Enhanced Strength and Durability – Active agents help to create a much stronger, durable rubber material.
- Increased Heat Resistance – Vulcanization increases the heat-resistance of rubber, allowing it to better withstand high temperatures.
- Improved Thermal Stability – Vulcanization also helps to stabilize rubber’s thermal properties, meaning that it can better handle abrupt changes in temperature.
- Reduced Moisture Absorption – Active agents help to reduce rubber’s tendency to absorb moisture from its environment, making it more suitable for a wide range of applications.
The use of an active agent also allows for the creation of rubber that is more resistant to both physical and chemical damage, meaning that rubber products can be utilized in a variety of applications while still providing reliable performance.
Types Of Active Agents
There are numerous different types of active agents that can be used for vulcanization purposes, including sulfur, organic peroxides, and quanternary ammonium salts. Depending on the specific compound used, different levels of strength, heat-resistance, and other properties can be achieved. It is important to select the right active agent based on each individual application, as using the incorrect agent can have a negative impact on rubber’s properties.
The Bottom Line
The use of an active agent in the vulcanization process is essential for making rubber better. By undergoing a chemical reaction with rubber molecules, active agents can improve rubber’s strength, heat-resistance, thermal stability, and more. With the right active agent, rubber can be utilized in a variety of applications while still providing reliable performance.