Rubber products are reactive to environmental changes, and that’s why you should store them carefully to maintain their integrity. Factors such as water, oils, humidity, heat, ozone, oxygen, and other solvents can affect how rubber products perform. However, proper storage conditions can help minimize the effects of these factors.
Avoid Exposure to Ozone and Oxygen
Ozone and oxygen can cause damage to custom manufactured rubber products, so it’s recommendable to store them in airtight containers wherever possible. That can help minimize the effects of the above factors and protect them from air circulation. For example, exposure to ozone can cause the carbon backbone polymer to break down into smaller chains. You can prevent this by keeping rubber products away from high voltage electrical equipment, mercury vapor lamps, electric motors, and any other ozone-generating equipment.
Some rubber materials are prone to moisture absorption, and humidity levels will always affect them. You should maintain your humidity level below 75 degrees anytime you want to store a rubber product. You should also avoid condensation at all times, and if you can’t prevent humidity, don’t let the entire rubber product condense. You can also minimize the effects of moisture by allowing a rubber item to stabilize in a controlled environment for quite some time. You could also need to protect a rubber product from light, especially strong artificial, ultraviolet, and sunlight. Experts suggest putting some parts of the rubber product into polythene bags and storing them in any covered container or cardboard as a solution to this issue.
A rubber item can change in dimension when exposed to extreme temperatures. Rubber material has a high friction coefficient, and that makes it susceptible to such changes. As such, it’s crucial to store rubber items in temperatures that don’t exceed 80 degrees. Low temperatures can cause a rubber product to stiffen while higher temperatures can make it soften. Allow parts of rubber that are out of tolerance to stabilize in a milder environment for at least 24 hours.
Store Rubber Products in Relaxed State
It’s recommendable to store rubber products in a relaxed and tension-free state. Parts that compress after storage can cause the shape of the rubber to shape up or crack. You should also not store large rubber parts on pegs to avoid severe deterioration. However, you can apply moderate heat to the rubber item and allow time for it to restore to its original shape. The properties of rubber-made items can change during storage,
and this can make them unserviceable. It can lead to excessive crazing, cracking, softening, and hardening of other surfaces.
These changes can be caused by either one environmental factor or a combination of several factors. It could be due to solvents, oils, light, humidity, ozone, and heat. However, people can minimize the harmful effects of these environmental factors through careful storage options. The leading causes of rubber damage during storage are exposure to ozone and ultraviolet light. However, storing rubber away from direct sunlight and under cool, dry conditions can make a significant difference.