Charles Goodyear (December 29, 1800 – July 1, 1860) was an American inventor who developed a process to vulcanize rubber in 1839 -- a method that he perfected while living and working in
1844, and for which he received patent number 3633 from the United States
Patent Office on Springfield, Massachusetts June 15, 1844
Although Goodyear is often credited with its invention, modern evidence has proven that the Mesoamericans used stabilized rubber for balls and other objects as early as 1600 BC.
Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process accidentally after five years of searching for a more stable rubber.
The story goes that inventor Charles Goodyear stumbled upon the vulcanization of rubber in 1839 when he accidentally dropped some gum-and-sulfur mix onto a hot stove. He found that rather than melting into a syrupy consistency the mix hardened into a leather-like texture. So enamored of this new miracle material was Goodyear that he wanted to make virtually everything out of rubber – money, flags, musical instruments, ship sails, and even ships themselves. He also wore rubber hats, vests, and ties. Goodyear is officially credited as the creator of vulcanized rubber, and the multi-billion dollar Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was named after him to honor his discovery and years of work.
Vulcanization or vulcanisation is a chemical process whereby rubber molecules, or polymers, are linked by combining liquid rubber with sulfur and then heated. The heat allows the chemical structure of the rubber to transform into a more usable substance than stock natural rubber or synthetic rubber – and it is approximately 10 times stronger than either original version. The result is a very elastic, durable rubber that can be used in many applications including heavy-duty products such as tires, shoe soles, hoses, and boots, as well as less utilitarian products such as weather stripping, hockey pucks, and watch bands. The vulcanization process is versatile because it can be applied to both natural rubber and synthetic rubber. The process is named after Vulcan, Roman god of fire. Hard vulcanized rubber is sometimes sold under the brand names ebonite or vulcanite, and is used to make hard articles such as bowling balls and saxophone mouth pieces.
A tire (or tyre) is a ring-shaped covering that fits around a wheel's rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance. Pneumatic elastomer tires, such as those for automobiles and bicycles, provide traction between the vehicle and the road while providing flexible cushion that absorbs shock.
The fundamental materials of modern pneumatic tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric and wire, along with carbon black and other chemical compounds. They consist of a tread and a body. The tread provides traction while the body provides containment for a quantity of compressed air. Before rubber was developed, the first versions of tires were simply bands of metal that fitted around wooden wheels to prevent wear and tear. Early rubber tires were solid (not pneumatic). Today, the majority of tires are pneumatic inflatable structures, comprising a doughnut-shaped body of cords and wires encased in rubber and generally filled with compressed air to form an inflatable cushion. Pneumatic tires are used on many types of vehicles, including cars, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, earthmovers, and aircraft. Metal tires are still used on locomotives and railcars, and solid rubber (or other polymer) tires are still used in various non-automotive applications, such as some casters, carts, lawnmowers, and wheelbarrows.
Latex is the stable dispersion (emulsion) of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.
Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants (angiosperms). It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins, and gums that coagulates on exposure to air. It is usually exuded after tissue injury. In most plants, latex is white, but some have yellow, orange, or scarlet latex. Since the 17th century, latex has been used as a term for the fluid substance in plants. It serves mainly as defense against herbivorous insects.
Latex is not to be confused with plant sap; it is a separate substance, separately produced, and with separate functions.
It can also be made synthetically by polymerizing a monomer such as styrene that has been emulsified with surfactants.
The word is also used to refer to natural latex rubber; particularly for non-vulcanized rubber. Such is the case in products like latex gloves, latex condoms and latex clothing. Many people are allergic to rubber latex.
Latex rubber is used in many types of clothing. Rubber has traditionally been used in protective clothing, including gas masks and Wellington boots. Rubber is now generally being replaced in these application by plastics. Mackintoshes have traditionally been made from rubberized cloth.
Latex rubber as a clothing material is common in fetish fashion and among BDSM practitioners, and is often seen worn at fetish clubs. Latex is sometimes also used by couturiers for its dramatic appearance. Worn on the body it tends to be skin-tight, producing a "second skin" effect. There are several magazines dedicated to the use and wearing of it. Less commonly, latex clothing can be loose-fitting.
Latex has been used to make leotards, bodysuits, stockings and gloves, besides other garments. Latex is also often used to make specialist fetishistic garments like hoods and rubber cloaks.
Latex clothing is generally made from large sheets of latex which are delivered in rolls. The "classic" colour for fetishistic latex clothing is black, but latex is naturally translucent, and may be dyed any colour, including metallic shades or white. It can come in thicknesses which generally range from about 0.18 mm to 0.5 mm. Instead of being sewn, latex clothing is generally glued along its seams.
Because latex sheet is relatively weak, latex clothing needs special care to avoid tearing. Whilst latex can be repaired using materials similar to those provided in a bicycle repair kit, the result is rarely as attractive as the original appearance of the garment.
Latex clothing is often polished to preserve and improve its shiny appearance.
Putting on latex clothing can be difficult, because latex has high friction against dry skin. To make it easier to put on, wearers often use talc to reduce friction against the skin when putting the clothes on; then, because stray talc is very visible against the rubber, wearers generally polish off any visible talc. Another method of dressing is using lubricant (or 'lube') which provides a slippy surface for the latex to glide over. A third method of reducing or eliminating the high friction of latex when dressing is to chlorinate the rubber. Chlorine in gaseous form is generated by the reaction of hydrochloric acid and sodium hypochlorite. This chlorine bonds to the first few molecules on the surface of the isoprene (latex) and transforms them into neoprene. This process affects metallic colours, but does not affect strength.
Latex may also be painted directly onto the body as latex in liquid form, which is also sometimes used to close seams in the creation of latex clothing. Removal of a painted on liquid latex garment can result in painful hair removal. Wearers avoid this by preparing the skin by prior hair removal, the use of release agents to prevent the latex adhering to the hair, or using products such as orange oil to weaken the latex during removal.