Products made from rubber have come to be a part of our day to day life in the form of automobile tires. It is used for several other applications as well. However, natural rubber becomes solid, cracks in winter and melts in summer. This unstable nature of rubber made lives of rubber product manufacturers difficult. Strong minds, however, don’t go down without a fight! It was at this stage that “vulcanization of rubber” was invented by Charles Goodyear. He was awarded a US patent for vulcanized rubber (Patent# 3,633) on June 15th, 1844.
Vulcanization is the process of chemically treating rubber and converting it to a more malleable form which can withstand heat and cold. In this process, sulfur or equivalent curatives or accelerators, which when added to natural rubber, forms cross-links between individual polymer chains, thus giving the rubber superior mechanical properties. Some sources indicate that Goodyear accidentally invented the vulcanization process. The story goes like this.