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The Much Maligned Dandelion

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Although most people may not know it, the majority of the rubber made today is from crude oil. Yes, it is yet another oil product that society seems helplessly and haplessly indebted to. The human need for rubber products has long outstripped the slower traditional methods for extracting latex from rubber trees. A good portion of the worlds rubber is still produced the old-fashioned way, but the rubber made using crude oil has long since surpassed it.

Now, the obvious question of peak oil has to enter the conversation at this point. For those not familiar with peak oil, it is the situation the world is very quickly approaching where, for the first time, our ability to produce oil will start to decrease; as a result of existing wells drying up and no new wells being found. Once the world passes peak oil a severe decrease in production is expected to occur very quickly, which will obviously affect manufacturing of all oil based products.

With less than fifty percent of rubber production relying on rubber trees there is likely going to need to be a new source of rubber to fill the gap once oil production declines. Growing rubber trees in the Americas is not really an option as they are subject to a problem known as leaf blight if grown too closely together. Conversely, extending the range of the rubber trees in Asian to meet world demands would require the destruction of vast tracts of already endangered rain forests. Both issues are compounded by the fact that rubber tress take a long time to reach sustainable rubber producing maturity.

A potential solution to this problem may lie in the chemistry of one of the most maligned plants in the world – the Dandelion. Yes, this invader of lawns may hold the key to our dependency on oil for rubber products, such as those sold by Meere Molded Rubber Products.

The Ford motor company has spearheaded this quest for a new source of rubber with Ohio State University. What they have come up with is a milky and sticky white fluid that is secreted from the roots of Russian dandelions. It is believed that this substance can be processed to increase the impact capability of plastics. It is rather ironic that this durable weed may also be able to meet our insatiable need for durable products such as rubber.

Meere molded rubber products is the industry leader in custom molded rubber production.  Their continuous attention to detail means quality parts at a competitive price.  Let their staff of technical experts give you a quotation for custom parts today!

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