The invention of vulcanisation.

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Table of Contents

Vulcanisation is the process of treating crude or synthetic rubber or similar plastic material chemically to give it useful properties (such as elasticity, strength, and stability).


This process was invented in 1844 by the American chemist and engineer Charles Goodyear. The process is detailed in his patent:

  • He combined twenty-five parts of India rubber (natural rubber), five parts of sulphur, and seven parts of white lead.
  • To get rid of the sulphur’s odour, he washed the surface of the vulcanised rubber either with a solution of potash or just vinegar.
  • In order to prevent the rubber from softening at high temperatures, he subjected it to temperatures ranging from 212-350 degrees Fahrenheit (100-176.7 degrees Celcius) once it had been fully dried.

Here is an engraving of Charles Goodyear:

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