Rubber That's So Tough, It Goes The Extra Mile

When Joseph Silverman learned that the Army was spending some $100 million a year to replace the rubber pads on tank treads, he decided to develop a more durable material. Rubber molecules in standard types of rubber are much like strands of spaghetti loosely held together by links between sulfur atoms, explains Silverman, a professor of material and nuclear engineering at the University of Maryland. Silverman, however, wanted to skip the normal method of curing rubber with sulfur and create a stronger link between the strands by bombarding the material with electrons.

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