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rubber & latex

Rubber Grows in Trees
Image: iStockphoto.com/styf22

Rubber Grows in Trees

Think there's not much to rubber? Ask Goodyear, whose kids nearly starved while he tried to invent "weatherproof" rubber. Or the scientists who saved the U.S. with improved synthetic rubber during WWII.

Even today, much of our rubber oozes out of trees as part of a milky fluid called latex. Stretch your mind here.



HowStuffWorks
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The Balloon Basher

The Balloon Basher

How strong are latex balloons? Could they protect you in a car crash? Can a balloon in a video make you flinch? Watch the first 3 segments in this series to find out. More...

Video
MythBusters
19 Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

19 Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

Stephen Perry invented the rubber band in 1845, and people are still finding new uses for them today. More...

Images
TreeHugger.com
Crafts with Rubber Bands

Crafts with Rubber Bands

No need to build your rubber bands into ever bigger balls. Discover how to turn them into sculptures, maracas, even a jump rope. More...

Activity
eHow
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree)

Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree)

Hundreds of plants produce latex, but most natural rubber comes from one species of tree, which started out in South America, but is now found mainly in Southeast Asia. More...

Article
Kew Gardens
How Chewing Gum is Made

How Chewing Gum is Made

Long before the invention of “Blibber Blubber” in 1906, people were chewing on latex. But gum’s come a long way since then. More...

Article
How Products Are Made
How Rubber Works

How Rubber Works

Natural rubber get sticky in hot weather, brittle in cold. Find out here how chemists turned it into a practical product, and learned to make artificial rubber out of oil. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
Making Rubber from Dandelion Juice

Making Rubber from Dandelion Juice

Latex comes from many plants besides rubber trees. Now scientists in Germany are on their way to turning dandelions into tires. More...

Article
Science Daily
Road Rubber

Road Rubber

You have particles of car tire in your lungs, says a Connecticut scientist. She has been studying what happens to the rubber and other chemicals in tires as they wear down. More...

Article
AAAS
Rubber and Other Latex Products

Rubber and Other Latex Products

You might be surprised to learn that chewing gum comes from latex. Discover other rubber and latex products. More...

Article
University of California, Riverside
Rubber Band Heat Engine

Rubber Band Heat Engine

See for yourself: rubber contracts when heated and expands when cooled. It heats up when stretched and cools down when released. Find out why, then build a wheel that seems to spin on its own. More...

Activity
education.com
Rubber Tapping

Rubber Tapping

How do you keep a rubber tree producing latex for 25 years? This video from a rubber plantation in Indonesia has an answer. More...

Video
World Agroforestry Centre
Tapping

Tapping

Rubber tappers cut channels into rubber trees to harvest their latex. The bark is about 6 mm thick. The channel must be 4.5 mm deep — no deeper! A tapper may tap 440 trees a day. More...

Article
FAO
The Charles Goodyear Story

The Charles Goodyear Story

The inventor of "weatherproof rubber" was able to bounce back from one disaster after another. But the disasters kept on coming. More...

Profile
Reader's Digest
The Differences Between ‘Latex’ and ‘Natural Rubber’

The Differences Between ‘Latex’ and ‘Natural Rubber’

Why are some house paints called "latex" even though they contain no rubber? You'll find the strict definition of latex here. More...

Article
Hygenic Corporation
US Synthetic Rubber Program

US Synthetic Rubber Program

The US might have lost World War II if it couldn’t find a better way to make synthetic rubber. Here’s how scientists and engineers saved the day. More...

Article
American Chemical Society

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