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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