How to harvest rubber tree


rubber | Tropical Plants, Petroleum, & Natural Gas

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Key People:
Tan Cheng Lock Paul W. Litchfield Henry Nicholas Ridley Giovanni Battista Pirelli Carl Dietrich Harries
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polyisoprene latex vulcanization gutta-percha foam rubber

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Summary

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rubber, elastic substance obtained from the exudations of certain tropical plants (natural rubber) or derived from petroleum and natural gas (synthetic rubber). Because of its elasticity, resilience, and toughness, rubber is the basic constituent of the tires used in automotive vehicles, aircraft, and bicycles. More than half of all rubber produced goes into automobile tires; the rest goes into mechanical parts such as mountings, gaskets, belts, and hoses, as well as consumer products such as shoes, clothing, furniture, and toys.

The main chemical constituents of rubber are elastomers, or “elastic polymers,” large chainlike molecules that can be stretched to great lengths and yet recover their original shape. The first common elastomer was polyisoprene, from which natural rubber is made. Formed in a living organism, natural rubber consists of solids suspended in a milky fluid, called latex, that circulates in the inner portions of the bark of many tropical and subtropical trees and shrubs, but predominantly Hevea brasiliensis, a tall softwood tree originating in Brazil. Natural rubber was first scientifically described by Charles-Marie de La Condamine and François Fresneau of France following an expedition to South America in 1735. The English chemist Joseph Priestley gave it the name rubber in 1770 when he found it could be used to rub out pencil marks. Its major commercial success came only after the vulcanization process was invented by Charles Goodyear in 1839.

Natural rubber continues to hold an important place in the market today; its resistance to heat buildup makes it valuable for tires used on racing cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes. Nevertheless, it constitutes less than half of the rubber produced commercially; the rest is rubber produced synthetically by means of chemical processes that were partly known in the 19th century but were not applied commercially until the second half of the 20th century, after World War II. Among the most important synthetic rubbers are butadiene rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber, neoprene, the polysulfide rubbers (thiokols), butyl rubber, and the silicones. Synthetic rubbers, like natural rubbers, can be toughened by vulcanization and improved and modified for special purposes by reinforcement with other materials.

Essential properties of the polymers used to produce the principal commercial rubbers are listed in the table.

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Properties and applications of commercially important elastomers
polymer type glass transition temperature (°C) melting temperature (°C) heat resistance* oil resistance* flex resistance* typical products and applications
*E = excellent, G = good, F = fair, P = poor.
polyisoprene (natural rubber, isoprene rubber) −70 25 P P E tires, springs, shoes, adhesives
styrene-butadiene copolymer (styrene-butadiene rubber) −60 P P G tire treads, adhesives, belts
polybutadiene (butadiene rubber) −100 5 P P F tire treads, shoes, conveyor belts
acrylonitrile-butadiene copolymer (nitrile rubber) −50 to −25 G G F fuel hoses gaskets, rollers
isobutylene-isoprene copolymer (butyl rubber) −70 −5 F P F tire liners, window strips
ethylene-propylene monomer (EPM), ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) −55 F P F flexible seals, electrical insulation
polychloroprene (neoprene) −50 25 G G G hoses, belts, springs, gaskets
polysulfide (Thiokol) −50 F E F seals, gaskets, rocket propellants
polydimethyl siloxane (silicone) −125 −50 G F F seals, gaskets, surgical implants
fluoroelastomer −10 E E F O-rings, seals, gaskets
polyacrylate elastomer −15 to −40 G G F hoses, belts, seals, coated fabrics
polyethylene (chlorinated, chlorosulfonated) −70 G G F O-rings, seals, gaskets
styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) block copolymer −60 P P F automotive parts, shoes, adhesives
EPDM-polypropylene blend −50 F P F shoes, flexible covers

The rubber tree

Commercially, natural rubber is obtained almost exclusively from Hevea brasiliensis, a tree indigenous to South America, where it grows wild to a height of 34 metres (120 feet). Cultivated in plantations, however, the tree grows only to about 24 metres (80 feet) because carbon, necessary for growth, is also an essential constituent of rubber. Since only atmospheric carbon dioxide can supply carbon to the plant, the element has to be rationed between the two needs when the tree is in active production. Also, with foliage limited to the top of the tree (to facilitate tapping), the intake of carbon dioxide is less than in a wild tree. Other trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants produce rubber, but, because none of them compares for efficiency with Hevea brasiliensis, industry botanists have concentrated their efforts exclusively on this species.

In the cultivation of Hevea, the natural contours of the land are followed, and the trees are protected from wind. Cover crops planted adjacent to the rubber trees hold rainwater on sloping ground and help to fertilize the soil by fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Standard horticultural techniques, such as nursery growing of hardy rootstocks and grafting on top of them, hand pollination, and vegetative propagation (cloning) to produce a genetically uniform product, are also employed.

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Hevea grows only within a well-defined area of the tropics and subtropics where frost is never encountered. Heavy annual rainfall of about 2,500 mm (100 inches) is essential, with emphasis on a wet spring. As a consequence of these requirements, growing areas are limited. Southeast Asia is particularly well situated for rubber culture; so too are parts of South Asia and West Africa. Cultivation of Hevea in Brazil, its native habitat, was virtually destroyed by blight early in the 20th century.

What Is Natural Rubber and Why Are We Searching for New Sources? · Frontiers for Young Minds

Abstract

What is rubber and where does it come from? Rubber is a natural product produced by plants and is present in many of the goods used in our daily lives.Rubber has had an important role in human history, throughout the development of human civilizations. It still plays an important role, and that is why we need to search for new rubber sources. Nowadays, 99% of the natural rubber we use is extracted from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis. In this article, we give some details about the best alternative rubber sources currently available.

What is Natural Rubber?

Natural rubber is produced from plants and is classified as a polymer. A polymer is a chemical compound with large molecules made of many smaller molecules of the same kind. Some polymers exist naturally and others are produced in laboratories and factories.

Natural rubber is one of the most important polymers for human society. Natural rubber is an essential raw material used in the creation of more than 40,000 products. It is used in medical devices, surgical gloves, aircraft and car tires, pacifiers, clothes, toys, etc. Natural rubber is obtained from latex, a milky liquid present in either the latex vessels (ducts) or in the cells of rubber-producing plants. Around 20,000 species of plants produce latex, but only 2,500 species have been found to contain rubber in their latex. The biological function of rubber for the plants is not fully known. However, it has been shown that rubber can help plants to heal after they are damaged, by covering wounds and stopping the bleeding. This blocks the entry of harmful bacteria and viruses into the plants.

The properties of rubber include high strength and the capability to be stretched many times without breaking. Natural rubber compounds are exceptionally flexible, good electrical insulators, and are resistant to many corrosive substances [1].

Synthetic (man-made) rubber can be produced through a chemical process, but people have not been able to produce a synthetic rubber that has all the properties of natural rubber. So, natural rubber cannot be replaced by synthetic rubber in most of its applications. This is why natural rubber is still very important to human society [2].

The History of Natural Rubber

As far back as 1600 B.C., Mesoamerican peoples in Mexico and Central America were using liquid rubber for medicines, in rituals, and to paint. It was not until the conquest of America that the use of rubber reached the western World. Christopher Columbus was responsible for finding rubber in the early 1490s. Natives from Haiti played football with a ball made of rubber, and later, in 1615, Fray Juan de Torquemada wrote about indigenous and Spanish settlers of South America wearing shoes, clothing and hats made by dipping cloth into latex, making these items stronger and waterproof. But rubber had some problems: it became sticky in response to warm weather and it hardened and cracked with cold weather.

One century later, in 1734, Charles Marie de la Condamine went to South America on a trip. There, he found two different trees containing latex: Hevea brasiliensis (Figure 1B) and Castilla elastica [3], but only the first became important as a natural rubber source. The reason why the Hevea tree succeeded over the Castilla tree was the way its latex was transported along the trunk. The Hevea tree has connected latex tubes (Figure 1A) that form a network, whereas the Castilla tree does not form a connected system. Thanks to its connected system, the Hevea tree bleeds latex when a special incision is made in its trunk (Figure 2). Without the latex tube connections, the Castilla tree does not bleed latex, making harvest of rubber more difficult.

  • Figure 1 - (A) Hevea brasiliensis trunk section and magnification of a longitudinal section of the connected tubes.
  • (B) A Hevea brasiliensis plantation and a drawing of the leaves, flowers, and fruit of this plant.
  • Figure 2 - Hevea brasiliensis, with a special incision made for latex extraction.

In 1839, Charles Goodyear invented the vulcanization process, solving many of the problems associated with rubber. Vulcanization is the process of treating rubber with sulfur and heat, to harden it while keeping its elasticity. It prevents rubber from melting in the summer and cracking in the winter. A few years after this important discovery, in 1888, Dunlop invented the air-filled rubber tire, making rubber an extremely important raw material worldwide. Rubber became an essential material for the Industrial Revolution.

From 1850 to 1920, businessmen were pushing entrepreneurs and traders to increase the amount of rubber extracted from Amazonian trees. During this period, the Brazilian Amazon was the only source of rubber and they controlled the price, making rubber expensive. At the same time, as more and more industry was developing in Europe and USA, more uses for rubber were being found [4]. Rubber was such an important material for Brazilians that they prohibited the export of rubber seeds or seedlings. However, in 1876, H. A. Wickham managed to smuggle 70,000 rubber seeds, hidden in banana leaves, and brought them to England. From those seeds, only 1,900 seedlings survived and were sent to Malaysia to start the first rubber plantations in Asia. This marked the beginning of the end for Brazil as the world’s main rubber producer. After 12 years, rubber production in the new plantations in Malaysia were as competitive as the ones in the Amazon and these plantations soon became the world’s main natural rubber supplier (Figure 3).

  • Figure 3 - (A) Hevea brasiliensis originated in the Amazon and made its way to Malaysia, the main producer of natural rubber.
  • (B) Hevea brasiliensis. (C) An alternative rubber source, guayule (Parthenium argentatum). (D) An alternative rubber source, Kazak dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz).

Henry Nicolas Ridley was a scientist who became director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 1888. While working there, he found the first 11 rubber trees that were planted in Malaysia and he started promoting the establishment of rubber tree plantations. Sometime later, he developed a revolutionary method for harvesting latex from the Hevea tree by continuous tapping. Tapping is the process of removing the latex from the tree. This discovery allowed a much higher latex yield to be achieved, and rubber became an essential material in Singapore’s development. The new plantations were more competitive in price, so from the end of the nineteenth century until the First World War, rubber collection from wild sources in tropical America declined tremendously. During the war, the supply of rubber was cut off. The USA, Germany, and Russia started searching for alternative rubber sources, either natural or synthetic, since the Amazonian trees were not supplying enough rubber for their needs [3]. Several research programs started in these countries, but, after the war, the supply of rubber from Malaysian plantations started again and the effort to look for new rubber sources almost disappeared.

Nowadays, around 90% of natural rubber is produced in Asia, with Thailand and Indonesia being the most important rubber suppliers (supplying more than 60% of the world’s natural rubber).

Why are we Looking for New Rubber Sources?

In recent years, the search for alternative sources of rubber has begun again. There are three main reasons for this:

1. Threats to the Hevea brasiliensis tree and its rubber production

First of all, the rubber trees are exposed to several diseases and since Asian rubber plantations started from only a handful of seeds, all the trees are genetically very similar. Less genetic variation means lower ability to fight against plant diseases. If one tree becomes sick, the illness can rapidly spread to the entire plantation. Today, the most important and dangerous disease that Hevea brasiliensis suffers from is called South American leaf blight disease. This disease can cause the devastation of an entire plantation. It is still confined to the tropical Americas, but if it arrives in Asia, it could mean the end of the rubber plantations. Under natural conditions, rubber trees commonly grow with a lot of space between them. In nature, serious damage to Hevea from South American leaf blight is unusual, because the other kinds of trees growing in between the rubber trees are not susceptible to the disease and act as barriers. But, on plantations where rubber trees grow very closely together, it can become lethal.

Second of all, an important threat to the natural rubber market is the very competitive and fast-growing market for palm oil and its side products. There is an increasing demand for both rubber and palm oil but, in Malaysia, the area in which Hevea brasiliensis is being grown is not decreasing, however, the area dedicated to grow oil palm is increasing. If the continuous growth of oil palm plantations does not stop, either the natural forest or the Hevea plantations will have to get smaller to make room for new crops of oil palms.

And last but not least, rubber tapping is a not well-paid job and it is difficult work. Young people tend to choose more attractive work, which could result in a shortage of skilled rubber tappers.

2. Rubber from Hevea brasiliensis can cause serious allergy

The latex proteins in rubber made from Hevea brasiliensis can produce severe allergies in certain people, even when they are exposed to very small amounts. The latex proteins are very difficult to separate from the rubber in the purification process. Since these allergies can be so dangerous, an alternative to rubber that does not contain these latex proteins would be advantageous.

3. Hevea brasiliensis is only produced in a single area

The conditions needed to grow these rubber trees are very specific and only occur in certain areas in the world. Most of our natural rubber is produced in a small region of Asia, making the supply vulnerable to damage. If the Asian plantations cannot produce enough rubber, rubber stocks could be insufficient for the world’s needs. It would be helpful to be able to find other plants producing rubber that can be grown in other areas of the world.

Are There any Alternative Rubber Sources?

Not all rubber-containing plants produce good-quality rubber. Some plants that have been considered as alternative rubber sources are guayule, Russian dandelion, rubber rabbit brush, goldenrod, sunflower, fig tree, and lettuce. Two of these plants seem to be the best alternatives to Hevea brasiliensis: guayule and Russian dandelion.

Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is a native shrub of the north plateau region of Mexico, which usually grows in limestone soils in areas with very low rainfall (Figure 3C). Guayule grows best when temperatures are between 18 and 49.5°C. Under these conditions, it can live for 30–40 years. Rubber is found in the stems and in the roots of guayule, and it is found in the individual cells of the plant, instead of in latex vessels or tubes. The rubber content of guayule increases over a period of several years. Less than 1% of the world’s rubber comes from guayule. Rubber from this plant is studied for biomedical applications, because it does not cause allergies. In order to extract the rubber from the plant, guayule tissue must be thoroughly softened and smashed up to free the rubber particles contained in the individual cells. The quality of rubber from guayule is not good enough for all uses, because it has more impurities than does rubber from Hevea brasiliensis.

The other good option for rubber, Russian or Kazak dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz), is a fast-growing plant with a high-quality rubber that was discovered in 1931 in Kazakhstan (Figure 3D). Kazak dandelion grows very close to the ground, can be grown in regions with mild temperatures, and produces yellow flower heads (they look like a flower but they are a dense group of small flowers without stem). Kazak dandelion contains rubber in the leaves, flowers, and roots, but only rubber in the roots is good for extraction, due to its higher quality and quantity. For rubber extraction, Russian dandelions must be either pressed or mixed [5]. Kazak dandelions have another advantage—they also produce a carbohydrate called inulin, which is a substance that can be used in foods as well as the production of medicines against cancer, biofuels, or even bioplastics (plastics made out of natural products). At this point, it is still too expensive to extract the rubber from Kazak dandelions. Through research, a plant with bigger root and higher rubber content can hopefully be developed.

Conclusion

Even though the rubber tree is the best source of rubber available today, it is facing some important threats. Rubber is only produced from plants that grown in certain unique areas. In order to expand the sources of natural rubber and avoid the dangers of limited production, we should search for new rubber-containing plants and improve the ones already known, to try to make them economically competitive.

Glossary

Polymer: A chemical compound with large molecules made of many smaller molecules of the same kind. Some polymers exist naturally and others are produced in laboratories and factories.

Latex: A whitish milky fluid containing proteins, starch, alkaloids, etc., that is produced by many plants. In some plants it also contains rubber.

Hevea Brasiliensis: It is a tree native to the Amazon. It is economically very important because the latex collected from the tree is the primary source of natural rubber.

Vulcanization: Process of treating rubber with sulfur and heat, to harden it while keeping its elasticity.

Rubber Tapping: Process of collecting latex from a rubber tree. A collecting groove is made in the bark of the tree before sunrise and the latex is collected in the late afternoon.

Rubber Extraction: The action of obtaining or separating rubber from the root tissue.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Natalia Carrero, Laura Barker, and Marcel Prins for their input in reviewing the text.

The AIR project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 752921.


References

[1] Vijayaram, T. R. 2009. A technical review on rubber. Int. J. Des. Manuf. Tech. 3:25–36.

[2] van Beilen, J., and Poirier, Y. 2007. Guayule and Russian dandelion as alternative sources of natural rubber. Crit. Rev. Biotech. 27:217–31. doi: 10.1080/07388550701775927

[3] Whaley, W. G. 1948. Rubber–the primary source for American production. Econ. Bot. 2:198–216. doi: 10.1007/BF02859004

[4] Ullán de la Rosa, F. J. 2004. La era del caucho en el Amazonas (1870–1920): modelos de explotación y relaciones sociales de producción. Anal. Mus. Am. 12:183–204.

[5] van Beilen, J., and Poirier, Y. 2007. Establishment of new crops for the production of natural rubber. Trends Biotechnol. 25:522–9. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2007.08.009

Natural rubber production - topof.ru news

We present to your attention a slightly updated article, which we prepared back in 2006. Our regular visitors will surely remember her.

Many factories produce rubber, which is obtained from the milky juice that oozes from cuts in the bark of trees. This juice is produced by special plants called milkers. It is generally believed that the biological function of this sap is to protect against herbivores, and/or that the latex is a dumping ground for metabolic intermediates or a store of biosynthetic materials. All latexes are emulsion-type aqueous suspensions of insoluble materials which may include alkaloids, terpenes, resins, phenolics, proteins, sugars, and long chain hydrocarbons. Not all milky juices are elastic; those that are contain long chain hydrocarbons. Some lactic acids are used to obtain resins and their alkaloids (opium).

Rubber - thickened, elastic latex. Plants that produce elastic milky sap are largely neotropical. Commercial rubber is made from the milky sap of Hevea brasiliensis. The water-repellent and resilient properties of various rubber trees were discovered by Native American cultures, the Aztecs or early Proto-Americans, and South American tribes.

Originally harvested from wild trees in South America, now 90% of rubber production comes from rubber tree plantations in Southeast Asia. Below is a brief scheme for obtaining natural rubber (in Thailand).

These rubber trees show diagonal cuts left by a special knife. Such plantations can produce rubber for many years, but unfortunately this plantation has been replaced by a rainforest.

Each night, the cutter must remove a thin layer of bark in a downward spiral from the trunk of the tree. If this is done carefully and properly, then this incision will ooze milky juice for 5 years. The far end of the spiral on the bark, meanwhile, is slowly healing. The spiral allows the juice to flow directly to a special collecting container. The work is done at night - thus, the juice will ooze longer.

The incision is made, and the milky sap of the rubber tree begins to slowly flow down the spiral. The milkers have a defense mechanism, so during production it is necessary to repel the attack of insects.

At the base of the spiral there is a special container, and the juice flows into it - and so from each tree, every night. Once a day, at night, a new thin layer of bark is removed, and the spiral is slightly lowered. The scars seen here are about 2 months old. When a spiral notch is applied to a tree, the worker waits until morning to collect the milky sap.

Now the milky juice begins to drip into the cup. Each night the tree will yield 1/2 to 3/4 cans of sap before the cuts in the bark stop oozing. The sap is collected at night when the humidity is especially high, and in this way the flow of the sap is extended as much as possible. They pick him up in the morning.

The milky juice is coagulated in metal bowls with dilute acid. This bowl is filled with a soft cake of condensed milky juice. It took the sap of 20-30 rubber trees to fill it.

After coagulation, the raw rubber cake must be rolled in a special way to remove water and washed to remove acid. The worker uses a wooden roller to compress the rubber and squeeze out the acidic water. The table slopes are covered with metal, and thus the water flows away from the worker. Later, the raw rubber cake will be put through a roller press to complete the process.

After the pressing is completed, the strip of raw rubber is dried on a rack and dried over a wood fire. Here, a strip of raw rubber dries next to a finished strip of smoked rubber. This "smoky" rubber is sold and shipped to rubber manufacturers. What we see next to the dried strip of smoked rubber is the last level of rollers used.

With the advent of synthetic rubber production technology, the rubber industry has ceased to be completely dependent on natural rubber, but synthetic rubber has not replaced natural rubber, the production of which is still growing, and the share of natural rubber in the total rubber production is 30%. The leading countries producing natural rubber are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. Due to the unique properties of natural rubber, it is indispensable in the production of large tires that can withstand loads up to 75 tons. The best manufacturing companies make tires for passenger car tires from a mixture of natural and synthetic rubber, so the tire industry (approximately 70%) remains the main area of ​​application of natural rubber. In addition, natural rubber is used in the manufacture of high-power conveyor belts, anti-corrosion coatings for boilers and pipes, glue, thin-walled high-strength small products, medicine, etc.

In many countries, native plant species were explored in the early 20th century. In the Soviet Union, a systematic search for rubber-bearing plants was undertaken in the 1930s; the total list of such plants was 903 species. The most effective rubber plants, in particular, the Tien Shan dandelion kok-saghyz, were grown in the fields of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and plants were operating to extract rubber, which was considered to be not inferior in quality to rubber from hevea (Hevea brasiliensis). At the end of 19In the 50s, with the increase in the production of synthetic rubber, the cultivation of rubber dandelion was discontinued.

  • 08/15/22
  • 08/15/22
  • 07/13/22

What does the rubber tree of hevea cry about its benefits

Author tobiz Reading 6 min Views 14 Published Updated

There is a problem of environmental pollution in the world due to production waste, fumes and the distribution of non-perishable materials. This can lead to a global environmental catastrophe. To prevent such consequences, it is necessary to switch to harmless production of natural products.

One such material is the hevea sap product. Rubber (latex) is used in many areas of life. It is a safe product for human health. This is the processed hardened tree sap of the Hevea plant.

The Indians honored the spirit of the rubber tree by collecting rubber milk. They carved protective amulets and magical paraphernalia from the array. The name itself is translated from the ancient Indian as “tears of a tree” - kau (tree) and uchu (tears).

Hevea, or rubber tree, belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family, genus Hevea. The plant is evergreen and thermophilic.

Its white-yellowish milky juice has unique properties similar to rubber in terms of elasticity and strength.

For this reason, the alternative name for its juice is "rubber". This genus contains 9 main species. The most popular of them was Hevea Brazilian, as the most unpretentious source of high-quality raw materials.

Content

  1. Description
  2. Where the rubber tree is growing
  3. Giveya Brazilian, Crowing
  4. Useful properties of rubber tree and use

Description

GEVEYA looks like a narrow and long plants due to a decid for a diode naked. It is also a tropical plant. It reaches a maximum height of 40 meters, but an average of 25 meters, with a trunk diameter of 40-60 cm.

Leaves near the tree:

  • Dark green.
  • Oval shape.
  • With pointed outer end.
  • Oily.
  • Finely veined.
  • Up to 16 cm long.

They change slowly, constantly falling out one at a time, which is characteristic of all evergreen trees and shrubs. The rubber plant blooms in spring with whitish-yellow small flowers, united in inflorescences.

It belongs to the monoecious species, since each specimen contains flowers of both sexes. The plant bears fruit once a year. The fruits are similar to chestnuts. Inside are small seeds up to 3 mm with oil (up to 40%), from which natural drying oil is produced.

Rubber sap begins to be produced in sufficient quantities for the 8th year of life from the moment of planting. It is released from the trunk and branches in a volume of up to 200 ml per day.

Contains:

  • 60% water.
  • 35% latex.
  • 1.5-2% protein and carbohydrates.
  • 2% resin.

As the juice flows out through the cut in the stem, it thickens and becomes yellow-brown in color. This is the resin of the rubber tree. On average, you can collect up to 2500 kg of "rubber milk" per year. The amount and composition of the juice directly depends on the mineral composition of the soil and the level of moisture.

This crop requires fertile soil and high tropical humidity, with about 1500 liters of precipitation per year, as well as warmth and sunshine, the optimum air temperature is +25 degrees. When the temperature drops below 20 degrees, the juice is not produced, and the kidneys may die.

Where the rubber tree grows

Hevea was originally distributed within the basin of the South American Amazon River. By the end of the 18th century, Europeans discovered that the natives often used rubber in everyday life. The settlers took advantage of the knowledge of the Indians by planting a tree in other regions of America and Asia:

  • Indonesia.
  • Ceylon.
  • India.
  • Taiwan.
  • Sri Lanka.
  • Vietnam.
  • Congo.
  • Nigeria.
  • Cambodia.
  • Myanmar.
  • Bolivia.
  • Columbia.
  • Peru.
  • Liberia, on special plantations.

All species have one thing in common: they grow in the equatorial tropical zone. For the growth of this plant, a humid and hot climate is necessary, the subtropics are no longer suitable for these conditions.

In Thailand, the tree is known as "golden". The production of mattresses and wood materials are strategically important for the development of the economy of this country. Thus, the plant brings money to the people of Thailand or, in earlier times, gold.

Hevea brazilian growing

This crop grows in acidic soils rich in humus, nitrogen and phosphates in a common root system. Plantations are planted with specially treated seeds, at a distance of 2-3 meters in rows. The distance between rows should be 5-6 meters.

The gaps are planted with coffee, tea, pineapples to protect the soil and enrich it with nitrogen. The land must be regularly cleared of weeds, fertilized with 900 g of ammophos for each hevea seedling per year.

Plants propagate in two ways: growing from seeds or grafting buds to suitable trunks, the so-called vegetative method. The seedlings are grown in special nurseries resembling greenhouse fences. After they reach the age of 1.5-2 years, they are planted in prepared soil on a plantation.

It is necessary to monitor the acid-base balance of the soil, adjust it to the acid side. With an increase in pH and depletion of the soil, the release of latex juice slows down and its properties are violated. After about 40-50 years, when the juice stops being released, only wood is used, which also has unique properties.

The rubber tree almost never gets sick, as its sap has protective antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. If the bark has been damaged, antibacterial preparations, lanolin paste are used. This speeds up the restoration and regeneration of the tree.

Benefits and uses of rubber tree

Rubber tree has a characteristic burgundy hue, which is why it is also called "red".

Its wood comes in different colors depending on the species and growing conditions:

  • Caramel shade.
  • With dark chocolate highlights.
  • White.
  • Pink or powder shade.
  • With pearl effect.

Shades may change color at different angles. The wood itself is characterized by increased density and strength due to repeated impregnation with rubber juice. The tree does not absorb water, does not rot and is not damaged by insects.

These properties make it easy to process. The wood is often used for decorative purposes, as it has a beautiful cut.

This material is used to create:

  • Parquet boards.
  • Furniture (including kitchenette).
  • Figurines.
  • Jewelry (necklaces, earrings, rings).

The price of rubber wood is comparable to precious metals. Furniture made of this tree can withstand heavy loads and constant use, does not absorb odors, liquids.

Rubber juice is collected exclusively by hand. To do this, incisions are made similar to hollows, up to 1 cm deep and several centimeters along. Under them are containers for collecting juice. The container is not taken until it is completely filled. As a preservative, ammonia is used, a solution of acetic acid to prevent drying.

Each tree saps daily, except during the rainy season. The collected juice is cleaned of impurities by washing with plenty of water. After that, the water is squeezed out.

The resulting raw material is laid out on special horizontal surfaces and dried, and then subjected to a smoking process to get rid of ants and excess water and impurities. So rubber becomes suitable for the production of latex products.

Latex itself is an elastomer composed of 9 polyisoprene7%. This material is used in several areas:

  • Machine-building, light industry.
  • Construction.
  • Medicine.
  • Manufacture of care items and children's toys.
  • Household items.

With the advent of a new technology of the rubber vulcanization process, artificial latex began to be produced, but it differs in chemical composition and is inferior in its technical characteristics and hypoallergenic properties.

During the production and disposal of artificial materials, fumes and chemical waste are released that are harmful to the environment.

Natural drying oil is produced from the seeds, which is used in the production of high-quality artistic, industrial and building paints, varnishes, solvents.

Cultivation of a rubber tree prevents the release of carbon dioxide into the environment, no chemical waste.


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