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Essentials to Take Care of Your Area Rug Pad

PremeireIt is not possible not to have accidents when kids are around. Or have a pet that would be careful with your rug. Or have a party that does not have a clumsy guest. When faced with such situations, accidents occur and then you are met with the difficult part: the removal of any sort of spots or stains and spills. These stubborn stains tend to be one of the most critical areas of maintaining a rug or carpet.
Thus, when we talk about rug/carpet care, the best option is to keep it simple. In fibers there is natural lanolin that gives natural staining repellency. However, maintenance of rugs is basically much easier to do: simple regular vacuuming, occasionally rotating the rugs and cleaning the spot immediately are few of the simple steps that will take care of your rugs.
Below are the few essentials while take caring of your area rugs:


Rug Pads: Underlay thick rug pads will keep your rug stable at a place while giving cushion to the walking feet. It also provides airflow that decreases any sort of moisture that has been built between the rug and the floor, thus increasing the life span of your rug.
Sunlight: Rugs thoroughly experience the testing of color fastness. However, direct sunlight or a constant one can fade colors of fiber over a period of time. In order to maintain the colors of your rug for a longer time, it is better to keep your area rug in a space that filters the sunlight through window coverings. It is also suggested to keep your area rug rotating periodically. This will make any areas that are fading less visible or noticeable to the naked eye.
Cleaning: This is one of the very important steps to do while maintaining your area rugs. A regular vacuum cleaning is an essential step. While vacuuming, start slow so it gives the machine ample time to lift the dirt from the rug.
Occasionally, vacuum the rug pad as well, especially the thick rug pads because at times the dirt actually gathers underneath after being filtered through the area rug. Also, it is better not to apply the beater bar as it will decrease the possibility of loops or ends that may be dragged by the rotating brush. If you find small pieces of loose fiber on your rug or carpet, there is no need to either get worried or panicky about it because the first few times of vacuuming will bring up little shedding which is normal.
Superior-Premium-Felted-Reversible-Dual-Surface-Non-Slip-Rug-Pad-76x96-P16189639Make sure you clean your rugs at regular intervals instead of waiting for the rug to be heavy in soil and dirt. This will actually increase the life span of your rug, resulting in the return of the investment you made on it.
To conclude, proper maintenance of area rugs improves the atmosphere as well as appearance of home interiors.

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The process used to manufacture felt

Introduction

Today, most fabrics are either knitted or woven.
Woven fabrics take almost 60% of the total apparel and textile. However, textile goes beyond knitted and woven
fabrics in reality. Everything actually begins from felt. Felt is a special material that needs neither
the sophisticated knitting technology nor the weaving technology.

The history of Felt

Felt is probably the oldest fabric known by man. It came before weaving and knitting. Felt was made very easily by the ancient man because
it did not require weaving or knitting for its production. Some ancient felt
was found in one of the frozen tombs that belonged to the nomadic horsemen that
lived close to the Siberia Tiai Mountains. The felt is dated back to around
700BC. The tribes that were associated with
this felt used it to make saddles, clothing and tents. According to the
Legends, St. Clement who was supposed to become the 4 th bishop of
Rome during the middle ages was the one who discovered the process of making
felt by accident. It is said that he
decided to stuff his sandals using tow (linen fibers or short flax) with the aim
of making them more comfortable. St. Clement later discovered that the pressure
from his feet and the moisture from ground dampness and perspiration matted
these fibers together to produce cloth. When
he became a bishop, he decided to find workers who will help hi develop his felting
operations. He later became the patron saint
for the hat makers. This people extensively utilize felt up to today.

Methods used to manufacture felt

There arebasically two methods used to manufacture felt fabrics:

1. Wet Felting
(also known as traditional felting)

2. Needle- felting (also known as dry felting)

Wet Felting

This process utilizes the inherent nature of animal hairs such as wool. This is because
these fibers have scales that are directional in nature and have knocks in them
too. When exposed to friction, their properties
make them react. This phenomenon is referred to as felting. This tends to work very well with wool fibers because
their scales easily curl and bond to form cloth when aggravated.

The raw materials used

Wool is the main raw material used to produce wet fitted fabrics because it grips and mats
easily. A synthetic fiber is also used
in the process to give the felt some resilience. It is not possible to turn synthetics into
felt using wet felting. However, they can
be felted when they are combined with wool. Typical combinations of fibers
include wool and nylon and wool and polyester.

Cheaper felt (also know as artificial felt) that is produced using the wet method usually has
30% wool combined with artificial fibers. This is the minimum amount of wool need to
hold a given fabric together. Other raw materials that are used in this process
include sulphuric acid, steam and soda ash. Sulphuric acid helps in thickening while soda
ash is used to neutralize the sulphuric acid.

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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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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.

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