Introduction to Rubber Technology

Shawbury, UK


Course overview

This course will show you how material selection, compounding and processing influence end product properties. It provides a sound introduction to rubber materials and their properties. It covers the fundamental aspects of rubber technology from material selection, compounding, vulcanisation, processing (conversion of raw materials into finished products), through to mechanical properties, environmental resistance, testing and specifications, evaluation of product failure and finally interactive case study exercises.
The course will take place over two days, commencing at 8.45am on day one and finishing at 4pm on day two.

Learning outcomes

You will be able to:
  • Ask the appropriate questions of suppliers, processors and end-users.
  • Assess material specifications for suitability to an application.
  • Estimate how differences in service environment may affect product performance.
  • Have an appreciation of the range of elastomers and their uses and limitations
This will enable participating companies to:
  • Liaise more effectively with suppliers and customer companies.
  • Identify effective quality control procedures for materials and products.
  • Look more effectively at optimising in-house processing methods.
  • Identify areas of investigation for further product development programmes.
  • Evaluate R&D, production and purchasing activities to identify potential savings and guard against in-service failure.
  • Gain in-house skills that can be directed to developing products more competitively.

Course content

History of Rubber 
  • A brief synopsis of events in the history of rubber.
Material Properties and Selection 
  • How the molecular structure of natural and synthetic rubbers affect their properties and ultimate selection.
Compounding and Vulcanisation 
  • The role of additives. The importance of vulcanisation. Optimising properties, processibility and costs. Getting the best from rubber.
  • The processes involved in converting the raw materials into finished products including mixing technology, extrusion, moulding and other processes. The Processes are described and the important central parameters highlighted.
Environmental and Chemical Resistance 
  • The environmental factors that have the potential to cause degradation of rubber compounds and the effects that heat agency has on the network and finished properties. Methods of protection are described.
Recycling and Re-use of Waste Rubber 
  • An overview of recycling rubber and the waste rubber market. A review of the various techniques and technologies that have been developed for recycling and re-using waste rubber and a summary of the many products that can be manufactured from recycled rubber, includng new rubber compounds, thermoplastic rubbers, composites with thermosets, construction products, fuel oils and energy generation products and recovered carbon black.
Key Mechanical Properties 
  • An appreciation of the static and dynamic behaviour of elastomers and the influence of service parameters such as temperature, strain rates and environment, viscoelasticity is described and its consequences on product performance examined.
Case Studies 
  • Syndicate sessions on a range of problems designed to reinforce the core topics and give opportunity for discussion and debate.
Further Notes
  • All of the lectures are covered by comprehensive notes and these also include additional notes on subjects such as physical testing.

Who will benefit

  • Anyone who needs a fundamental knowledge of rubber materials, for example:
  • Staff working in the rubber industry (e.g. for companies which mould rubber products or material suppliers) both newcomers and those who have no formal training.
  • Anyone from companies whose core business activities are outside the rubber industry, i.e. downstream users of rubber materials and components, who need an appreciation of rubber materials and how they are formed to be able to communicate confidently with their suppliers.  

Presenter information

John Manley, Principal Consultant - Smithers
John has gained a wealth of polymer knowledge from over thirty years' experience of working in the rubber industry. He specialises in rubber technology, failure investigation, material selection and compound development.
Gary Crutchley, Principal Consultant - Smithers
Gary spent seventeen years working in the tyre industry, developing rubber compound formulations. He has worked in both developmental and production-related roles, and is familiar with most rubber processing technologies.
Dr Martin Forrest, Principal Consultant - Smithers
Martin has nearly forty years’ experience working in the polymer industry, and specialises in polymer analysis. He has worked with clients on material selection, failure investigation and performance optimisation projects.
Mark Bentham, Polymer Processing Development Engineer - Smithers
Mark has over 18 years of practical experience in rubber manufacturing, originally working in the fast-paced automotive industry. In the last 12 years he has developed a wealth of knowledge in rubber development and niche manufacturing.

What our delegates say

"World class"
Richard Andrews (SEP)

"Very well worth it, excellent way of gaining a background knowledge of rubber technology"
Micah Vorster (Berwin PPG)

"Very happy I attended the course, wish I had done it years ago"
Darren Shire (Innospec)

Questions and queries

Please contact Kerry Haralambou

Introduction to Rubber Technology

Length 2 days
Smithers Intro to Rubber Technology Brochure 2019