While it often goes unnoticed, rubber is one of the most essential and widely used materials today. Products made from rubber are ubiquitous in industries ranging from transportation to construction and consumer goods. It is the key material for the production of tires, footwear, and surgical gloves and catheters for the healthcare industry, among many other uses.
The widespread use of rubber today was made possible by the invention of synthetic rubber, whose elasticity, toughness and flexibility make it better suited for modern industries than its naturally occurring counterpart.
This year marks the 95th anniversary of another major advancement in the field: the invention of industrial-scale synthetic rubber production.
In 1927, the Russian chemist Sergey Lebedev developed a method to obtain large quantities of synthetic rubber using ethyl alcohol rather than petroleum. This discovery became an impetus for the rapid advancement of global research to create a wide range of synthetic rubbers that tremendously expanded mankind’s ability to manufacture new products.
In subsequent decades, chemists from the United States, Europe and other parts of the world succeeded in developing synthetic rubbers with high resistance to heat, frost, abrasion and aggressive environments, laying the foundation for the production of advanced polymers that have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.
Dmitry Konov, Board Member of the Russian Chemists Union, commented:
“The development of synthetic rubber is a triumph of international cooperation that has benefited all mankind. It is important, especially today, to maintain a long-term developmental approach to key industries such as petrochemicals, which develop and produce the materials that support the changing needs of our global society. Russian researchers and industry players have made a significant contribution in this regard. It is only by keeping open the channels of scientific cooperation and dialogue across countries and industries that we will be able to continue on the path of global advancement.”
The Russian Chemists Union (RCU) is a non-commercial organization that unites enterprises across Russia’s chemical sector, as well as scientific research institutes, unions and associations in the chemical industry, and vertically-integrated structures in the country. At present, RCU members include about 600 enterprises and industry organizations in Russia. RCU is an associate member of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and represents Russia in the ICCA’s Responsible Care Leadership Group, which works to implement the Responsible Care programme – a UN-recommended voluntary initiative of the global chemical industry to drive continuous improvement in safe chemicals management and achieve excellence in environmental, health, safety and security performance.