At Elbex, we use several different curing methods to prepare rubber to meet the needs of your unique applications. In its natural, uncured state, rubber is far from being the valuable and flexible material that can be used for extrusions and seals. Vulcanizing is an important process to ensure that rubber has the strength and flexibility you need.
Why Does Rubber Need to Be Cured?
Uncured rubber is composed of long polymer chains that move independently. Because of this, rubber that has not been cured is highly susceptible to temperature changes. When it is cold, the rubber becomes brittle. When it gets warm, the rubber easily becomes deformed. Curing is a process that helps the rubber’s polymer chains crosslink so that the rubber can stretch and return to its original shape when put under stress.
Salt Bath Curing — or Continuous Vulcanization
Salt bath curing, also known as continuous vulcanization, is one of the most efficient methods for hardening and curing rubber. After rubber pieces have been cut into the desired shape, they are given a salt bath. This method has a short cure period, as its heat exchange properties allow curing to take place at high temperatures. Continuous vulcanization also does not cause surface oxidation. Because of these attributes, continuous vulcanization is often used for weatherstripping, tubing, hoses, and electrically conductive rubber compounds.
In addition to salt bath curing, Elbex provides a wide range of value-added services to ensure great results for custom and standard rubber extrusions. From auto cutting to secondary vulcanization, our products will meet your required standards, including ASTM and military specifications. To learn more, contact us today.