Natural Rubber Latex
High-solids evaporated natural rubber latex concentrate stabilised with potassium hydroxide
Natural rubber, also called China rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer (an elastic hydrocarbon polymer) that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some trees. The trees would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined into a usable rubber. The original tapped latex contains 36% rubber hydrocarbon, 60% water, 1.8% acetone extract (natural anti- oxidant), 1.8% proteins and 0.4% minerals. The latex must be stabilized once retained from the tree as it otherwise will coagulate (solidify; sticking together) immediately (known as the Brownian movement). Stabilization of the retained latex will be done by adding ammonia or potassium hydroxide. Because the tapped latex contains so much water it would be a very expensive way to transport the material. There are several techniques to decrease the water content and higher the rubber content from the tapped and stabilized latex:
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