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Natural rubber, in its milky sap, is tapped from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree. Most of the latex is either processed into sheets or solid crumb rubber. It can also be kept in its liquid form through use of chemicals to prevent the latex from coagulation. In the solid form, the rubber sheets or crumbs are used in the manufacture of solid rubber based products, eg. tyres etc, while the liquid form is used for dipping products such as gloves, balloons and condoms.
Technically Specified Rubber (TSR)
Rubber grading under TSR was established in the early 1970s. The rubber is graded by its dirt, ash, nitrogen content, volatile matter content and plasticity retention index.
They have good processing characteristics and physical properties. Usually, such grades of rubber are high in green strength, tack, easy to mix and has low viscosity.
Common sources of TSR include Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India etc. However quite recently the African and South American rubbers are gaining popularity. Most Asian countries have a nomenclature of labelling their standard rubbers with the country of their origin viz. Standard Malaysia Rubber as SMR, Standard Indonesia Rubber as SIR, Standard Thailand Rubber as STR and Standard Vietnam Rubber as SVR.
These are used in high performance passenger tyres, motorcycle and bicycle tyres, heavy load truck tyres, conveyor belt, inner tubes and hose.
The typical standard specifications of most common TSR grades are:
|TSR 5||TSR 10||TSR 20|
|Parameter||Unit||SIR 5||SMR 5||STR 5||SVR 5||SIR 10||SMR 10||STR 10||SVR 10||SIR 20||SMR 20||STR 20||SVR 20|
|Ash (max)||% wt||0.5||0.6||0.6||0.5||0.75||0.75||0.6||0.6||1||1||0.8||1|
|Nitrogen (max)||% wt||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6|
|Volatile Matter (max)||% wt||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8|
|PRI index (min)||70||60||60||60||60||50||50||50||50||40||40||40|
Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS)
Ribbed Smoked Sheets, or air dried sheets are commonly known as RSS. It can be graded into RSS1 to RSS5, with RSS1 as top grade. It is usually packed in large bales of 111.11kg/bale or 19 metric tons per 20 foot FCL.
The different grades are determined by the percentage of particles in the rubber sheet.
|Grade||Unacceptable Conditions||Acceptable Conditions|
|RSS1||Oxidized spots, weak heated, under-cured, over-smoked, opaque and burnt sheet are not acceptable.||Slight traces of dry mould on the packaging are acceptable but mould should not penetrate inside the bale. Small scattered pinhead bubbles are permissible.|
|RSS2||Oxidized spots, weak heated, under-cured, over-smoked, opaque and burnt sheet are not acceptable||Slight traces of rust and dry mould on the packaging and interior sheets are acceptable but it should not be >5% of the bales sampled. Small bubbles and slight specks of bark are permissible.|
|RSS3||Oxidized spots, weak heated, under-cured, over-smoked, opaque and burnt sheet are not acceptable||Slight traces of rust and dry mould on the packaging and interior sheets are acceptable but it should not be >10% of the bales sampled. Small bubbles, slight specks of bark, slight blemishes in colour are permissible.|
|RSS4||Oxidized spots, weak heated, under-cured, over-smoked (exceeding the degree shown in samples), opaque and burnt sheet are not acceptable||Slight traces of rust and dry mould on the packaging and interior sheets are acceptable but it should not be >20% of the bales sampled. Medium sized black particles, bubbles, translucent stains, slightly sticky or over-smoked rubber are permissible.|
|RSS5||Oxidized spots, weak heated and burnt sheet are not acceptable||Slight traces of rust and dry mould on the packaging and interior sheets are acceptable but it should not be >30% of the bales sampled. Large particles, bubbles or barks, small stains or blisters, slightly sticky, slightly under-cured or over-smoked rubber, blemishes are permissible.|
Pale Crepe consists of carefully collected fresh liquid latex, deliberately coagulated and sometimes, bleached, milled, to produce crepe of a thickness corresponding approximately to standardized thickness.
There are a number of grades available in crepe rubber with the purest form being 1X Thick Pale Crepe (1XTPC) also known as1-Thick Pale Crepe (1TPC). Pale crepe is usually sold in 25kg bales with 32 bales packed onto a crated pallet of 800kgs, suitable for ocean worthy shipments in containers.
Pale crepe is used in FDA applications, medical supplies, footwear, cements and adhesives.