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Why rubber rug pads are often a premium choice

Choosing a rug isn’t really that complicated, but there are several mistakes people tend to make when it comes to home décor and rugs. One of the biggest, and sometimes costliest, mistakes people do when choosing a rug is getting the wrong rug pad, either because they want to save money or don’t want to waste time on researching which rug pad is the right one for them. Using the free rug pad offered by your manufacturer instead of, say, a quality rubber rug pad, can have catastrophic effects on your carpet. In order for you to avoid these mistakes, read this article we have prepared for you and also make sure to keep them in mind when decorating your home.
When choosing the rug, you should know the appropriate size of it. A large rug needs a large rug pad which can, especially if it’s thick or made by quality natural rubber like many felt rubber pads are, often cost almost or even as much as the carpet itself. Moving on, look at the furniture in the room, and then make a decision of where you want to place the carpet. Furniture causes indentations so if your rug is underneath furniture, you need to protect your carpet with some dense rubber rug pads. The furniture should sit comfortably on the carpet, or at least with front legs of the furniture. This way, you can’t miss. Some of you may like area rugs, but if you are looking for smaller carpets, a rule of thumb you should stick to is to choose a carpet that is two feet smaller than the smallest wall of the room the carpet should go into. The thing a lot of people don’t keep in mind is just how much smaller carpets can slide, often potentially endangering the people walking over them, so you want to get a rug pad that offers great sliding protection, so you might want to stay away from fiber.

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Before you choose the wall color, you should choose the color of the rug and the furniture; otherwise, you will end up running around and searching for rugs and furniture with a paint color sample in your hand. So, the best option would be to choose the furniture, then find the rug, and after you are done with this, you should decide what color the walls should be.
The basic rule of thumb when choosing a rug is usually good for a living room. As for other rooms, there are several more tips you should read before choosing a rug and, consequently, the rug pads. Do your footsteps make a lot of noise, especially for the people in the room below? If the answer is yes, then you need a rug manufactured with sound insulation in mind. Rubber rug pads with a good deal of thickness usually get the job done. Kitchen rug pads shouldn’t be fiber to prevent water pouring through the carpet and making the rug pad rot. As for the bedroom, the bed is a very heavy piece of furniture, so as previously mentioned, you will probably want to get a rug pad as dense as possible. Rubber rug pads are some of the most dense rug pads available should you pick a type with a lot of density. The most common size of bedroom rugs is 8’x10’, but if you have a smaller bedroom, a 4’x6’ will also be good. If choosing the smaller rug, you should know it doesn’t go under the bed, of course, but in front of or next to it. Remember, a cohesive space begins with good proportions, so always make sure to pick a rug of a good size.

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Natural rubber

Natural rubber

The Economist Intelligence Unit expects natural rubber (NR) consumption growth to continue expanding in 2014-15 at an average of 3.9% as demand recovers in several major consuming countries. This follows growth of 2.7% in 2013, according to the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). Despite the quickening pace of consumption growth, it will not be enough to eliminate the substantial market surplus in 2014-15 and we expect that prices will favour consumers, especially in 2014. That said, heavy stockpiles in China and Japan will weigh against apparent demand as consumers there will be able to displace imports by drawing down on reserves. China will remain by far the world’s largest consumer in 2014-15, but other emerging regions, such as Other Europe, North America and Latin America, will also help to support consumption growth.

Supply

We have revised downwards our forecast for global rubber production in 2014 for a second consecutive month, as a combination of dry weather conditions across South-east Asia (where three-quarters of global rubber production is located) and low prices will result in lower output and production rationalisation. We now expect output to grow by just 0.1% in 2014, largely owing to a downward revision to our Thailand forecast, before bouncing back by 3.3% in 2015. Despite the weak growth in 2014, global rubber output will still reach a record 12.1m tonnes and will mean another year of sizeable market surplus. A notable further downside risk for 2014 is the deteriorating political situation in Thailand, given the potential for rubber farmers’ participation in recent social unrest to affect supply and for exchange-rate weakness to disrupt exports.

Stocks and prices

The net result of our increases in Japanese and North American consumption, and changes to the balance of production in South-East Asia is a slightly smaller market surplus in 2014, of 268,000 tonnes, compared with 294,000 tonnes previously, and 714,000 tonnes in 2013, according to according to IRSG data. The surplus will shrink again in 2015, as growth in global consumption will outpace that in production. (Producers will generally be wary of ramping up output following a period of good supply and falling global prices.) Even with these lower surplus levels, rubber will be amply available in 2014-15 and we expect the stocks/consumption ratio to stabilise above 14 weeks, its highest level since the early 2000s. Much of the excess rubber will be held in China by the State Reserve Bureau and will therefore be unavailable to the market, helping to temper somewhat the impact of the surplus on prices. There has also been stockbuilding at the producer end, as exporters are unwilling to flood the market at a time of low prices.

Despite a small reduction in the expected surplus in 2014 as a result of dry conditions in major producers and production rationalisation, recent bearish market conditions mean we have cut our forecasts for price for RSS3, a Thai benchmark grade used in automobile tyres. We now expect prices to average US$2,455/tonne, from US$2,498/tonne previously. Given the risks to the Thai economy posed by political unrest, it is possible that the price could fall further in US dollar terms on exchange-rate effects. Prices for SMR20, a Malaysian benchmark, are expected to average M$6,560/tonne in 2014 as a whole, down by nearly 16% on 2013 (when prices already fell by 18%). We tentatively expect prices to recover in 2015, but they will still be well off their high levels of 2011.

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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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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.

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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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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.