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Modern Synthetic Rubbers


THE very title of the book is unacceptable to the technical mind: one speaks of “Hymns Ancient and Modern” and “Modern Furniture” but not of “modern” synthetic rubbers or indeed of any “modern” technical products. After reading the book the author's preface will be found most illuminating; for example, he states, “I have endeavoured to bring together as much of the information available in as palatable a form as possible”, yet in so doing the author has written a book which is too technical for the general reader or even the average rubber technologist and too inaccurate for those seriously interested in synthetic rubber. Such statements, which occur frequently, as “Polyisobutylene is a polymer of isobutylene” are meaningless to the layman and redundant to the chemist. Some errors will be detailed below ; they would appear to have arisen in two ways: first, by repeating existing published errors and, secondly, by the evident anxiety of the author to fill up gaps in existing knowledge. In some cases the author is actually in conflict with himself ; for example, on p. 175 the reader is told “the first commercial synthetic rubber was neoprene”, but on p. 214 the reader is asked to revise his views since: “The first commercially synthetic rubber to appear cut the American market, was an ethylene poly-sulphide polymer designated as Thiokol”. Another example is that on p. 201 the reader is informed that polyisobutylene has the greatest temperature range of elastic properties, but on p. 208 he is told that this record is held by butyl rubber.

Modern Synthetic Rubbers

By Dr. Harry Barren. Pp. viii + 274. (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1942.) 25s. net.

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NAUNTON, W. Modern Synthetic Rubbers. Nature 150, 751–752 (1942).

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