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Is Rubber Flooring Eco-Friendly?

Is Rubber Flooring Eco-Friendly?

The ecological impact of rubber flooring is directly related to the type of rubber that is used. Understanding where it comes from, how it was manufactured, and how it got to your location is the only way you can truly know how green the material is.

Types Of Rubber Flooring

Synthetic Rubber Floors

This is the least Eco-friendly choice when it comes to rubber materials. Synthetic rubber is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Despite this the process used to manufacture this material is actually quite energy efficient and low impact.

The draw of synthetic rubber is that these floors are more durable and longer lasting than natural rubber alternatives. While finite resources are consumed in their production this is balanced to some extent by the long life of the resulting product. In some cases this effect can be boosted by recycling the rubber floor at the end of its life cycle.

Natural Rubber Floors

This material is manufactured from latex, which is a sap found in para rubber trees, also known as Hevea brasiliensis. This same material is also found naturally in lettuce, dandelions, and in fig trees. Unfortunately some people are allergic to latex, and the installation of such a floor can be harmful to their health.

Transportation: Para rubber trees can be replanted each season making natural rubber an easily renewable resource. These trees are mainly grown in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Amazon rainforest. Depending on where you live you may want to consider the environmental impact of transportation from the location of growth to your own.
Flexco Rubber Flooring
Recycled Rubber Floors

These are the most environmentally friendly rubber floors. Made from recycled rubber such as that found in old car tires, this material helps to eliminate the build up of waste making it a low impact floor covering choice. The process of manufacturing is low cost, and requires less energy than is used in the creation of most other resilient floors. In many cases it is also the least expensive rubber flooring option available.

Recycled rubber is generally stronger and more durable than natural rubber flooring however it does come with a few caveats. Many manufacturers will not recommend its use in kitchens, laundry rooms, or garages, as it may be subject to staining from grease, petroleum, fats, and detergents. You should check with your retailer before deciding to use recycled rubber in a specific location.

Rubber Flooring’s Odor

One of the biggest drawbacks to installing a rubber floor is that there is going to be a slight smell. Because of this many manufacturers do not recommend installing this material in an enclosed space without proper ventilation. In most cases this smell is not harmful but it can make a poorly ventilated interior uncomfortable. You may also have to worry about those with latex allergies in the case of natural rubber, or the release of VOC’s if adhesive was used in the installation.
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Noise Pollution

This doesn’t necessarily have an impact on the world environment, but the sound insulation qualities of rubber flooring can make the personal environment of an interior more pleasant.

Flammable Rubber Flooring

This material is flammable and if there is a fire it will burn. This is another place where it is important to understand the chemical composition of the material. It’s flammability will depend on the elements used in its manufacture. A rubber floor that contains chlorine or other toxic ingredients is going to release them into the air if it catches on fire. That is why an Ethylene propylene diene based material is recommended as a viable alternative to PVC based rubber products.

Rubber Flooring Adhesives

By choosing loose lay or interlocking rubber floors that do not require adhesive you are eliminating the production and waste elimination of an extra chemical from the flooring process. If adhesive is used to install a floor it also makes those materials unsuitable for recycling at the end of their life cycle.

Some flooring adhesives contain chemicals that can offgas Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC’s), causing a negative impact on the interior environment of a room when used. It is important to question your retailer, and understand the properties of any adhesive which is used in the installation.
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The Lifecycle Of Rubber Floors

Rubber flooring is a long lasting resilient flooring material that can often last for twenty years or more. This can significantly cut down on the cost of waste and replacement needed for less durable flooring materials. Tiles have a longer life span than sheet rubber flooring. This is because individual tiles can be replaced if damaged with less waste cost than removing and reinstalling an entire sheet floor.

If adhesive was not used in its installation then most rubber flooring can be recycled and re purposed to other flooring when it is no longer needed in a single installation. This allows it to last far beyond its own natural life cycle keeping it from the landfill for years beyond its initial use.

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Natural and synthetic Rubber

Natural Rubber
Tapping Latex
Natural rubber is obtained from the milky secretion (latex) of various plants, but the only important commercial source of natural rubber (sometimes called Pará rubber) is the tree Hevea brasiliensis. The only other plant under cultivation as a commercial rubber source is guayule ( Parthenium argentatum ), a shrub native to the arid regions of Mexico and the SW United States. To soften the rubber so that compounding ingredients can be added, the long polymer chains must be partially broken by mastication, mechanical shearing forces applied by passing the rubber between rollers or rotating blades. Thus, for most purposes, the rubber is ground, dissolved in a suitable solvent, and compounded with other ingredients, e.g., fillers and pigments such as carbon black for strength and whiting for stiffening; antioxidants; plasticizers, usually in the form of oils, waxes, or tars; accelerators; and vulcanizing agents. The compounded rubber is sheeted, extruded in special shapes, applied as coating or molded, then vulcanized. Most Pará rubber is exported as crude rubber and prepared for market by rolling slabs of latex coagulated with acid into thin sheets of crepe rubber or into heavier, firmly pressed sheets that are usually ribbed and smoked.

An increasing quantity of latex, treated with alkali to prevent coagulation, is shipped for processing in manufacturing centers. Much of it is used to make foam rubber by beating air into it before pouring it into a vulcanizing mold. Other products are made by dipping a mold into latex (e.g., rubber gloves) or by casting latex. Sponge rubber is prepared by adding to ordinary rubber a powder that forms a gas during vulcanization. Most of the rubber imported into the United States is used in tires and tire products; other items that account for large quantities are belting, hose, tubing, insulators, valves, gaskets, and footwear. Uncoagulated latex, compounded with colloidal emulsions and dispersions, is extruded as thread, coated on other materials, or beaten to a foam and used as sponge rubber. Used and waste rubber may be reclaimed by grinding followed by devulcanization with steam and chemicals, refining, and remanufacture.

Synthetic rubber
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The more than one dozen major classes of synthetic rubber are made of raw material derived from petroleum, coal, oil, natural gas, and acetylene. Many of them are copolymers, i.e., polymers consisting of more than one monomer. By changing the composition it is possible to achieve specific properties desired for special applications. The earliest synthetic rubbers were the styrene-butadiene copolymers, Buna S and SBR, whose properties are closest to those of natural rubber. SBR is the most commonly used elastomer because of its low cost and good properties; it is used mainly for tires. Other general purpose elastomers are cis -polybutadiene and cis -polyisoprene, whose properties are also close to that of natural rubber.
Synthetic-Rubber
Among the specialty elastomers are copolymers of acrylonitrile and butadiene that were originally called Buna N and are now known as nitrile elastomers or NBR rubbers. They have excellent oil resistance and are widely used for flexible couplings, hoses, and washing machine parts. Butyl rubbers are copolymers of isobutylene and 1.3% isoprene; they are valuable because of their good resistance to abrasion, low gas permeability, and high dielectric strength. Neoprene (polychloroprene) is particularly useful at elevated temperatures and is used for heavy-duty applications. Ethylene-propylene rubbers (RPDM) with their high resistance to weathering and sunlight are used for automobile parts, hose, electrical insulation, and footwear. Urethane elastomers are called spandex and they consist of urethane blocks and polyether or polyester blocks; the urethane blocks provide strength and heat resistance, the polyester and polyether blocks provide elasticity; they are the most versatile elastomer family because of their hardness, strength, oil resistance, and aging characteristics. They have replaced rubber in elasticized materials. Other uses range from airplane wheels to seat cushions. Other synthetics are highly oil-resistant, but their high cost limits their use. Silicone rubbers are organic derivatives of inorganic polymers, e.g., the polymer of dimethysilanediol. Very stable and flexible over a wide temperature range, they are used in wire and cable insulation.

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How latex is made

Background

A latex is a colloidal suspension of very small polymer particles in water and is used to make rubber.

Natural

Dipped goods (medical and surgical items, household and industrial gloves, boots, and balloons) utilize more than half of all natural latex consumed in the United States. The adhesives industry is the second largest user of natural latex in products such as shoes, envelopes, labels, and pressure sensitive tape.

Natural latex with a high solids content is also used for making molds for casting plaster, cement, wax, low temperature metals, and limited run polyester articles. Natural latex has the ability to shrink around the object to be reproduced, so that the smallest detail will be reproduced in the cast. Latex is even being used to help stabilize desert soils to make them suitable for agricultural uses.

Natural latex is produced from the Hevea brasilienesis rubber tree and is the protective fluid contained beneath the bark. It is a cloudy white liquid, similar in appearance to cow milk. It is collected by cutting a thin strip of bark from the tree and allowing the latex to exude into a collecting vessel over a period of hours.

Hevea trees mature at five to seven years of age and can be tapped for up to 30 years. Rubber yields range around a ton per acre (2.5 tons per ha) on the larger plantations, but yields four times as much are theoretically possible. Trees often are rested for a period after heavy tapping.

Natural latex was once commercially produced in the Amazon in great quantities. In recent times, production of natural latex has moved to Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Far Eastern regions. More than 90% of the total world production of natural rubber now comes from Asia, with well over half of that total originating in these countries. Other leading Asian producers include Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka. China and the Philippines both have substantially increased their rubber production as well.

process-flowchart

Synthetic

Most synthetic rubber is created from two materials, styrene and butadiene. Both are currently obtained from petroleum. Over a billion pounds (454,000,000 kg)of this type of rubber was manufactured in the United States in 1992. Other synthetic rubbers are made from specialty materials for chemical and temperature resistant applications.

Tires account for 60-70% of all natural and synthetic rubber used. Other products containing rubber include footwear, industrial conveyor belts, car fan belts, hoses, flooring, and cables. Products such as gloves or contraceptives are made directly from rubber latex. Latex paints are essentially a solution of colored pigment and rubber latex. Latex foam is made by beating air into the latex before coagulating it.

History

The Indians of Central and South America used rubber as early as the eleventh century to coat fabric or to make into balls, but it was not until the French scientist Charles de la Condamine visited South America during

the 1700s that the first samples were sent back to Europe. Rubber was given its present English name by the British chemist Joseph Priestley in about 1770. The first modern use for rubber was discovered in 1818 by a British medical student named James Syme. He used it to waterproof cloth in order to make the first raincoats, a process patented in 1823 by Charles Macintosh. Thomas Hancock devised methods for mechanically working rubber so it could be shaped, and he built England’s first rubber factory in 1820. Also during this period, Michael Faraday discovered that natural rubber is composed of units of a chemical compound called isoprene.
During the mid-nineteenth century, Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization, a process that retains the rubber’s elasticity under temperature changes. This process heats rubber with sulfur, which causes cross linking, decreasing rubber’s tackiness and sensitivity to heat and cold.

In 1882, John Boyd Dunlop of Ireland was granted a patent for his pneumatic tire. As the demand for tires began to deplete natural rubber supplies, the British cultivated huge rubber plantations in Singapore, Malaysia, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Seeds were taken from Brazil and first germinated in England and then shipped to these countries. Today, all natural rubber produced in Asia comes from trees that are descendants of the Brazilian seeds.

By the early 1900s, various countries sought ways to improve rubber compounds and to develop synthetic materials. In 1910, sodium was found to catalyze polymerization. When the Germans were cut off from natural rubber supplies during World War I, they used this discovery to make about 2,500 tons (2,540 metric tons) of rubber made from dimethylbutadiene.

During World War II, the Japanese gained control of the major sources of natural rubber in Asia. In response, the United States’ synthetic rubber industry increased its production by an astonishing 10,000%, from 7,967 tons (8,130 metric tons) in 1941 to more than 984,000 tons (1 million metric tons) in 1944. Following the war, other countries developed their own synthetic rubber factories to avoid having to rely on overseas rubber supplies.

Improvements in synthetic rubber have continued, and in addition, higher yielding hybrid trees have been developed that yield twice as much natural latex as the conventional ones. In 1971, a tree stimulant was developed that resulted in an average increase of 30% in latex production with no apparent harm to the trees.

Raw Materials

The composition of latex sap consists of 30-40% rubber particles, 55-65% water, and small amounts of protein, sterol glycosides, resins, ash, and sugars. Rubber has high elasticity and a polymer molecular structure. This structure consists of a long chain made up of tens of thousands of smaller units, called monomers, strung together. Each monomer unit has a molecular size comparable with that of a simple substance such as sugar. Other special chemicals are used as preservatives or stimulants during the harvesting process.

Both synthetic and natural rubber production require the use of vulcanizing chemicals, primarily sulfur. Fillers such as carbon black are also added to provide extra strength and stiffness. Oil is often used to help processing and reduce cost.

The Manufacturing
Process

Growing and processing natural rubber is one of the most complex agricultural industries and requires several years. It combines botany, chemistry, and sophisticated machinery with dexterous skills of the people who harvest the trees. Contrast this with synthetic rubber production, which involves chemical reactions and sophisticated chemical processing machinery that is automatically controlled by computers. The production of natural latex is described below.

Planting

1 Seeds from high-grade trees are planted and allowed to grow for about 12 to 18 months in the nursery before a new bud is grafted to the seedling. After bud grafting, the year-old seedling tree is cut back and is ready for transplanting. The bud sprouts shortly after transplanting, resulting in a new tree with better properties. Approximately 150 trees are planted per acre (375 per ha), which are cultivated and cared for until they are ready for tapping in about six to seven years.
Tapping

2 To harvest latex, a worker shaves off a slanted strip of bark halfway around the tree and about one third in (0.84 cm) deep. Precise skill is required for if the tree is cut too deeply, the tree will be irreparably damaged. If the cut is too shallow, the maximum amount of latex will not flow. The latex then bleeds out of the severed vessels, flows down along the cut until it reaches a spout, and finally drops into a collection cup that will later be drained.
3 Tapping is repeated every other day by making thin shavings just below the previous cut. When the last scar created by the cuts is about 1 ft (0.3 m) above the ground, the other side of the tree is tapped in similar fashion, while the first side renews itself. Each tapping takes about three hours and produces less than a cup of latex.
4 A tapper first collects the cut lump, which is coagulated latex in the cup, and tree lace, which is latex coagulated along the old cut. Next, the tapper makes a new cut. The latex first flows rapidly, then declines to a steady rate for a few hours, after which it slows again. By the next day, the flow has nearly stopped as the severed vessel becomes plugged by coagulated latex.
5 To prevent most of the liquid latex from coagulating before it can be conveniently pooled and transported, the tapper adds a preservative such as ammonia or formaldehyde to the collection cup. Both the liquid and coagulated latex is sent to factories for processing.

6 To increase tree yields and reduce tapping times, chemical stimulants are used. Puncture tapping, in which the bark is quickly pierced with sharp needles, is another method that can improve productivity, since it enables the same worker to tap more trees per day.
Producing liquid concentrate

7 About 10% of the latex is processed into a liquid concentrate by removing some of the water and increasing the rubber content to 60%. This is achieved either by spinning the water out of the latex through centrifugal force, by evaporation, or by a method known as creaming. In this method, a chemical agent is added to the latex that causes the rubber particles to swell and rise to the liquid’s surface. The concentrate is shipped in liquid form to factories, where it is used for coatings, adhesives, and other applications.
Producing dry stock

8 Other rubber and field latex is coagulated with acid. A giant extrusion dryer that can produce up to 4,000 lbs (1,816 kg) per hour removes the water, creating a crumb-like material. The dried rubber is then compacted into bales and crated for shipment.
Forming sheets

9 Ribbed smoked sheets are made by first diluting the latex and adding acid. The acid makes rubber particles bunch together above the watery serum in which they are suspended. After several hours, roughly one pound (0.45 kg) of soft, gelatinous rubber coagulates for every three pounds (1.35 kg) of latex.
10 The rubber is allowed to stand for one to 18 hours, then the slabs are pressed into thin sheets through a system of rollers that wrings out excess liquid. The final set of rollers leaves a ribbed pattern on the sheets that increases the surface area and hastens drying. The sheets are dried for up to a week in smoke houses before being packed and shipped.
Producing other products

11 To make rubber products, the mix is shaped by placing it in a heated mold, which helps shape and vulcanize the material. For more complex products, such as tires, a number of components are made, some with fiber or steel-cord reinforcement, which are then joined together. Surgical gloves are made by dipping a ceramic form into latex, withdrawing the form, and then drying the latex shape.
Quality Control

A number of quality checks are made after the latex is harvested. After tapping, the latex is checked for purity and other properties. After each step of the production process, technicians check physical properties and chemical composition, using a variety of analytical equipment.

The Future

The production of natural rubber has failed to meet the growing demand for rubber, and hence, today two-thirds of the world’s rubber is synthetic. However, developments, such as the invention of epoxidized natural rubber which is produced by chemically treating natural rubber, may reverse this trend. The synthetic rubber industry is also continuing to make processes more efficient, less costly, and less polluting, as well as developing new additives, compounds, and applications.

Though there are as many as 2,500 other plants that produce rubber, it is not made fast enough to be profitable. United States Department of Agriculture researchers are looking at ways to speed up the process by genetically engineering a plant to make larger initiator molecules. These molecules start the rubber-making process, and if such molecules were larger, rubber could be produced up to six times faster.

Read more: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Latex.html#ixzz3Cr51P4Kc

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Safest Non-Slip Rug Pads

Durahold rug pads vary in qualities and kinds. Choose yours based on if they are needed for tiled, marbled or hardwood floors. They are effective in forming a protective layer, securing both the rug and the floors. The arrangement of the strands allows them to form naturally induced vacuums between the carpets and the floors. This vacuum ensures the rug to securely stay in its place. Your house can be turned into a damage proof, waterproof and pressure resistant area. This can help you protect yourself, your loved ones and your valuables.
The overall arrangement of these durahold rug pads is adjusted to enforce its non-slip quality. Their thickness changes in inches and density in ounces depending on what extent you require the non-slip quality. This thickness is also directly proportional to whether you require the padding for an area rug or for an entire room’s carpet. Non-slip rug pads do not incorporate any glues, pastes or chemicals in their manufacture. So when installing them you need not worry about them damaging your exquisite Persian rugs and freshly polished hardwood floors. They provide a strong connection between the rugs, carpets and hardwood floors because of the detailed non-slip arrangement that has been engineered specifically.
Non-slip durahold rug pads are available in several materials; you can choose the one that will complement the overall appearance of your home. You can also make the pick depending on the floor type and the area for which the padding is required. If your rug pad has to be placed somewhere outside the house, you can go with a cheaper quality rug pad.  However, for inside the house you should pick an expensive pad to make it last longer and for maximized comfort and protection.
If you have been contemplating buying durahold rug pads to line your rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and the patio, following are the options divided into two basic categories:
-Non-Slip Rug Pads
-Textured Rubber Non-Slip Padding


super-lock1optimized_69Such rug pads do not have a smooth surface that would otherwise be found on regular rug pads. These have been manufactured in such a way that the surface is comparatively coarse. This surface provides glue like action. The rough tentacle like structure of the surface clings to the rug in a strong and interwoven way. This solidifies the connection of the rug and the floor ensuring the rug to stay in its place.
The plus point about using such rug pads is that they are damage free. The union formed between the rug pads and the rug and hardwood floor is not triggered by any chemical. The frictional force is caused by the differing textures of both items in contact. This is why, whenever you remove the rug pad you will notice how well the polish of your hardwood floors was maintained. Above all, these also maintain the integrity of your expensive and fancy rugs. Their installation and removal is easy and hassle free.
If you have tiled or marbled floors, this need not be a particular choice of padding for you. However, if you have hardwood floors, you should go for this kind of durahold rug pads. These are beneficial for such flooring as they offer the protection and maintenance they require. The overall comfort of the house is also magnified. They can also assist in protecting your floors from liquids, dust and pressure. They are easy to clean and replace.
Rubber Non-Slip Padding For All The FloorsUltra-Non-slip-Rug-Pad-4-x-6-P11996891
Certain kind of rubber padding is positively suggested for all floors and rugs. These are rubber rug pads that have not undergone any kind of change. They are used on the basis of their original structure. They are left untreated and have no chemicals sprayed on them. They are, however, comparatively cheaper and suggested if you require rug pad for an entire room. They can also be used to pad welcome rugs and kitchen mats.
They are not specified for any particular floor. They can be used to protect cushion tiled, marbled, chipped and hardwood floors. They can easily provide you with the kind of padding you are looking for.
Therefore, if you want to cushion your house to protect your loved ones and your valuables, the above two are the finest shortlisted choices for you.

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Natural rubber production grew in 2013

KUALA LUMPUR—Natural rubber production increased 4.7 percent in 2013 among the 11 member countries of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, the ANRPC said.

Total 2013 NR production was 11.15 million metric tons, according to the February issue of Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics, the ANRPC monthly report.

Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines all revised their 2013 production reports since the January issue of Natural Rubber Trends, which caused the ANRPC to change its 2013 numbers, the association said. In January, the ANRPC said 2013 NR production was 10.95 million tons, up 3.2 percent from 2012.

Volatility in world markets caused NR prices to fall precipitously between December 2013 and February 2014, according to the report.

Standard Malaysian Rubber 20 (tire grade) stood at $231.76 for 100 kilograms in December, but fell 6.9 percent to $215.72 in January and another 10.5 percent to $192.98 in February, the report said.

Standard Thai Rubber 20, which started at $233.04 per 100 kilos in December, dropped 7.3 percent in January to $216.58 and another 10.5 percent to $192.83 in February. Rubber Smoked Sheets 3 in Bangkok started at $256.95 per 100 kilos in December, then decreased 8.6 percent to $234.85 in January and 8 percent to $215.95 in February.

Recent irrational fluctuations in NR prices may end soon, thanks to production shutdowns during the wintering season and encouraging growth forecasts from consumer countries, said ANRPC Secretary General Kamarul Baharain Basir in his opening letter to the February report. This can’t happen soon enough for NR growers, he said.

“Low prices have been depressing the livelihood of rubber growers, especially smallholders, whereby the affected group has increasingly showed its discontent,” Kamarul said.

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Glut In Natural Rubber Seen Shrinking

Glut In Natural Rubber Seen Shrinking As Prices Drop And China Car Sales Rise

Natural rubber supplies ballooned in recent years as Asian producers cranked up the tree taps and consumers curbed their demand. Now, the glut appears ready to pop. The global surplus is poised to shrink by nearly 50 percent in 2015 as the trends reverse, according to the International Rubber Study Group.

Rubber production will exceed demand by 202,000 metric tons next year, compared to 371,000 tons this year and 650,000 tons in 2013, the Singapore-based inter-governmental group confirmed to Bloomberg News. Actual inventories of rubber are still expected to grow.

Harvesting rubber, a $25 billion industry, is still a fairly low-tech business. Farmers cut through the tree’s bark — though not deep enough to slash the trunk — to access the milky white latex, which flows through a spout and drips into a bucket hanging off the tree. The rubber is primarily used to make automotive and airplane tires, and it also supplies the latex for surgical gloves and condoms. About 70 percent of the world’s supplies comes from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, and most producers are small-scale farmers.

Three years ago, record-high rubber prices drove producers to ramp up their output. But as more product hit the market, China — the world’s top rubber buyer — experienced an economic slowdown, and new Chinese car sales dropped. The resulting rubber glut caused futures prices to drop 28 percent this year, hitting the lowest level in nearly five years in June, Bloomberg reported.

In response to low prices, producers are tempering their activity at the taps — all while China regains its automotive appetite.

Global vehicle production is slated to rise by 21 million units to 106 million units per year by 2021, with China making up half the growth, according to ISH Global Insight’s automotive forecasting arm. “If we turn the focus to China and emerging Asia we are bombarded by announcements that capacity will be increased,” Mark Fulthorpe, director of ISH’s global vehicle production forecasting, told CNBC this spring. About 70 percent of rubber consumed in China is used to make tires for lightweight vehicles.

The rubber surplus could shrink even further as some producing countries diminish their domestic industries.

In Thailand, the top grower and exporter of rubber, government officials want to replace about 8 percent of the country’s total rubber-growing area with more profitable oil palm trees, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. While rubber trees need about seven years to reach a rubber-tapping stage, oil palms can be harvested within three or four years of planting, giving them a quicker return. “Many farmers have already stopped tapping rubber trees as the returns are poor. Palm oil will provide better returns,” Pongsak Kerdvongbundit, managing director at Von Bundit Co., one of Thailand’s biggest rubber exporters, told WSJ.

Even so, total rubber inventories will jump to 4.33 million tons in 2015, about 15 percent more than 2014’s expected total and about 50 percent over 2013 amounts, The Rubber Economist Ltd. projects, Bloomberg noted.

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Protect Hardwood Floors with Rug Pads

People often tell stories about their hardwood floors getting damaged due to the usage of rug pads. In order to avoid such damage, proper precautions must be taken. Moreover, the selection of rug pads must be made according to the floor types of your home.
Having hardwood floors is an investment to make for your home and in order to protect that investment; you should place rug pads underneath the rugs so that the life of your rugs is prolonged as well as the life of the flooring. Make sure that the rug pads are made up of such fibers that do not damage your flooring.

Rug pads are used to maintain your rug pads. They add softness and comfort to your rugs and keep them firm as they prevent people from slipping. They also prevent the finish of the flooring from scratches. One common mistake that people make with hardwood flooring is that when it is new, they should wait for at least two weeks for the finishing of floors drying and afterwards covering the space with furniture etc. If the floors are covered immediately after the polishing, the chemicals from the polish could react with the fibers in the rug pads which could harm the hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors could also be damaged if cheap rug pads for hardwood floors are bought on sale not knowing the material from which they are made up. Some rug pads are of low quality and could ruin the hardwood floors after a while they are placed under the rugs or carpeting spaces.
If the flooring has polyurethane and vinyl rug pads are used on it, the rug pads will stick to the surface and after a while it will leave stains which will be difficult to remove from cleaning.
There are different types of rug pads available in the market ranging from natural rubber rug pads, felt rug pads, polyvinyl rug pads and recycled rug pads. You have to be extremely careful with the selection of rug pads as there are also substandard rug pads available in the market. You must make sure that the ones that you are purchasing should be synthetic and must be replaceable through exchange if they turn out to ruin the flooring of your house.
234413_hardwood_flooringEven hardwood flooring has three different types which are as the following:-
•    Hardwood Floor (Engineered)
•    Solid Type
•    Hardwood Floor (Exotic)
One should not compromise on the quality of the rug pads for hardwood floors even if you have to pay a higher price for it. At least it would be more beneficial in the longer run. If a good quality rug pad is bought, it would not harm the expensive flooring of the house. However, if a poor quality rug pad is used, it could damage the flooring and you will have to spend more money on flooring afterwards.

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Production of Natural Rubber

Natural Rubber / Latex – Production of Natural Rubber

Background
Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are the largest producers of natural rubber in the world. Figures from the World Trade organisation posted on www.thailand.com indicate the following worldwide natural rubber production in 1998.

Natural rubber comes from the Havea brasiliensis tree, which grows in tropical regions. They typically reach 20-30 metres in height on rubber plantations, and are able to produce commercial quantities of latex at about 7 years of age, depending on climate and location. Economical life span of a rubber tree is between 10 to 20 years, but may extend past 25 years in the hands of a skilled tapper and bark consumption.

It should be noted that latex is different to tree sap.

Dry Rubber Production
Tapping Rubber Trees

Havea trees are not tapped any more often than once per day, with 2 or 3 days being the norm. In countries such as Thailand, tapping usually takes place in the early hours of the morning, prior to dawn due to the high day time temperatures and the protective clothing worn to protect against snakes etc. Also flow rates are increased due to higher turgor pressures at these times.

A tapper uses a sharp hook shaped knife to shave a thin layer of fresh bark from the tree. This exposes the latex vesicles. The cut is typically done at 25-30° to the horizontal, as this exposes the maximum number of vesicles. The same incision is re-opened the next time (typically the next day) by shaving off a small amount of bark. Virgin bark is exposed first working around in panels. The same area may be exploited again after about 7 years.

The thickness of the layer is important as too thick a slice will damage the tree and reduce its productivity and life, while too thin a slice will not produce sufficient latex. Bark is removed in a localised area for a period of time, and then a new area is tapped allowing the tree to repair itself.

The latex runs down and is collected in a cup. Each tree usually produces about half a cup of latex per day and is collected later in the day. Latex will flow for approximately 1 to 3 hours after which time the vesicles become plugged with coagulum.

Processing of natural rubber involves the addition of a dilute acid such as formic acid. The coagulated rubber is then rolled to remove excess water.
Then a final rolling is performed using a textured roller and the resultant rubber sheet is dried. Following this, the rubber is ready for export of further processing. This type of natural rubber accounts for about 90% of natural rubber production.

Natural Rubber Production
Natural rubber is used in a pure form in some applications. In this case, the latex tapped from trees is concentrated using centriguges, removing water and proteinaceous materials. It is then preserved using a chemical such as ammonia.

Applications of Natural Rubber
The natural rubber is used for making products such as:

• Glue
• Tyres
• Toys
• Shoes
• Condoms
• Gloves
• Catheters
• Balloons
• Some medical tubing
• Elastic thread

At the end of a rubber trees’ useful life, the wood is used to make furniture and souvenirs.