Chemistry KS3 & GCSE: Goodyear's groundbreaking invention of vulcanised rubber

Mark Miodownik describes Charles Goodyear’s experiments to vulcanise natural rubber into synthetic rubber.

Several years after he was bailed from prison, Goodyear managed to achieve this by adding sulphur and white lead.

Using electron micrographs and computer animations, Mark demonstrates how Goodyear's process of vulcanisation changed the rubber’s properties and structure.

This clip is from Materials: How They Work.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used to show how rubber is made and as an example of how man had changed the properties of a material by changing its chemistry.

Students could work in groups to investigate and compare the use of natural rubber, vulcanised rubber and synthetic rubber products, looking at the pros and cons of each.

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Chemistry at KS3 and GCSE/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 or Higher in Scotland. The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC GCSE in GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.

More from Materials: How They Work:

Bronze - The first alloy
video
Development and uses of Optical Fibres
video
What is Graphene?
video
How was metal discovered?
video
How reinforced concrete works
video
How the Romans invented concrete
video
What is a superalloy?
video
Superconductors and the 'Meissner effect'
video
The atomic structure of metal
video
What is superconductivity?
video
The Invention of Carbon Fibre
video
Goodyear's groundbreaking invention of vulcanised rubber
video
The structure, properties and uses of Bakelite
video
What is reinforced concrete?
video
Why is concrete so brittle?
video