Mesoamericans Were The First Polymer Scientists (Discovery News)

Photo from Discovery News
Photo from Discovery News

Ancient Mesoamerican peoples manufactured rubber from latex some 3,500 years before the modern invention of vulcanization and even compounded it for different applications, says new research from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research team.

According to archaeology professor Dorothy Hosler and technical instructor Michael Tarkanian of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, pre-Hispanic peoples not only invented rubber, but they perfected a system of chemical processing to enhance  rubber’s properties.

The result was strong, wear-resistant rubber for sandal soles, resilient, bouncy rubber for game balls, and rubber optimized for resilience and strength for wide bands used to attach handles to axe heads. (more)

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