Abstract

In accordance with custom, I have been asked, as a Goodyear Medalist, to address the Division of Rubber Chemistry of the American Chemical Society on the subject of my past work in the science and technology of elastomers. Hoping that I have correctly understood your desires, I shall now give you an informal, anecdotal story of some of this work. Going beyond this story of the past I shall also sketch, as I now see them, certain related unsolved problems, some of which have been rather neglected. While keeping in mind that detailed mathematics and theoretical argument would be inappropriate and even unwelcome on this occasion, I shall endeavor, with very little mathematics, to stimulate some of you to initiate programs of research on some of these problems, if you have not already done so. First let me tell you how, without realizing it, I became a rheologist. When I was employed by the United States Rubber Company in the fall of 1928, my first assignment was to study rubber plasticity, or the flow properties of crude rubbers and raw compounded stocks. When I was told of this problem in a conference with my group leader, Dr. Roscoe H. Gerke, there was a third person present, Dr. Ernest J. Joss, a physical chemist. Dr. Joss had only shortly before been given the same assignment; but with my appearance in the group, he was permitted to drop this work and give his full time to more congenial tasks. At the conference he turned over to me some talced strips of pale crepe which had been cut from a batch on a laboratory mill after various milling times. I knew nothing about rubber at that time; and if I had been asked to guess what these samples were, I could only have replied that they looked like fillets of sole sprinkled with flour and ready for the frying pan. The rheologieal testing devices for raw rubber that were available at that time were of two forms, the compression plastometer and the extrusion plastometer. I quickly decided that neither of these was suitable for the purpose, which, as I conceived it, was to measure the flow behavior of raw rubbers or stocks in their working condition as exhibited on a mill or calender or in a tuber.

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