In the UK alone, we spend more than £3 billion a year on research and development. Across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, there are literally thousands of businesses and organizations trying to help make our lives better.
Whether it’s pharmaceutical development or working in a university lab, access to the right in equipment is vital.
Here we look at how important rubber products are in scientific research. Without this amazing product, we wouldn’t have the drugs that cure disease, the new products that make our lives easier, or even the houses that keep us warm and comfortable.
Bungs and tubing
When we think about research, most people conjure an image of test tubes and vessels with rubber bungs and Bunsen burner tubing.
Natural rubber, EPDM and other materials such as neoprene and nitrile are all integral to these types of products. Without them carrying gases and liquids to and from different devices, we wouldn’t have research and development at all.
Step into any research lab and you’ll probably see a lot of bungs of different sizes as well as plenty of tubing. But that’s not the only place you’ll find rubber products.
Other uses of rubber in scientific research
One of the key factors when it comes to rubber is that they can be moulded into practically any shape and retains its integrity whatever size it is. They make great seals and can be used to partition off areas in a research establishment as well as for doors and windows.
Much of the equipment that researchers use in the scientific equipment will have some kind of rubber seal included in the design.
Rubber is also used to make protective equipment such as latex gloves. It’s employed widely in medical research areas to make things like prosthetics, birth control devices, chemical resistant mats, needle plungers and dropper tops to name just a few.
Why is rubber so important?
Rubber is probably one of the most versatile materials on the planet and different products have a few things in common including providing high levels of hygiene and prevent cross-contamination, something that’s highly important in research science. It’s thought that natural rubber on its own is used to in some 40,000 products and is one of the most durable materials on the planet.
The huge advantage of rubber is that it can be moulded into any shape and can be manufactured with varying levels of flexibility. You can get a hard rubber that is used for medical devices as well as softer ones that are ideal for tubing and bungs.
Rubber also responds well to varying temperatures at both ends of the spectrum. That means it can perform properly at very low and high temperatures without losing its integrity.
Scientific research often requires strict standards which is why products such as nitrile are used and are highly stable under a variety of lab conditions.
If there is one product that has helped drive research science forward over the last two centuries, it’s rubber. Today it’s used in thousands of products that are helping to change lives and our understanding of the world we live in.