Watch the slide show to see what the the rubber process looks like!
How do we get Rubber?
We went to a rubber plantation in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. A man showed us round and explained everything really well. It was very interesting – it is the best way to learn about rubber in a fun way! I am now going to explain how we get rubber.
First of all, the sap is drained out of the tree. This is done with a special tool with a sharp, hooked end. A curved line is scraped in the bark. All the white sap dribbles down the line and then falls into a 1 litre cup, which is attached by string to the tree’s trunk.
Then, the sap is poured into a tray and dipped into water and acid and then laid out to dry. It is dried for two days, then it is squeezed though a mangle. It is now a sheet of rubber about 1 foot long.
After that, it is dried in the sun. It is hung on long sticks in the sun. It is dried for a day until it turns brown.
Next it is taken to a small smoke house. It is hung on sticks again, but this time it is in smoke for a day.
After that, the rubber pieces are stretched into long strips and hammered together into large bundles, big enough for two or three people to sit on. This bundle weighs about 50 kilograms.
Then those big bundles of rubber packed into trucks are sold to places all around the world.
Here are some other interesting facts about rubber…
• The little bits of dried sap that are left in the 1 litre cup are sometimes used to make rubber footballs!
• Rubber actually really stinks!
• When it is drying in the sun, it turns brown!
• The smoke house makes the rubber sheets really stretchy - the 1 foot long piece can stretch to about 3 feet!
• A rubber seedling is taller than 6 feet high when it’s 2½ months old!
How many things can you think of that are made out of RUBBER?
Check out the video below to see the rubber being stretched after being smoked in the smokehouse