The typical images that spring to mind when you think of the military are objects such as tanks, helicopters and fighter jets, but have you ever thought of rubber as being an essential item used by the military?
You may not have realised but rubber is actually used in the defence industry in a number of very interesting and varying ways as a result of the many functions that it demonstrates.
Not only is rubber extremely strong and resistant, but it is also fantastic in absorbing shock and vibration, therefore the reliability of rubber is just one reason why this material is so highly used and regarded by the military.
White Cross Rubber Products, the UK’s leading manufacturers of rubber sheeting, reinforced rubber sheeting and rubber coated textiles covered a brilliant infographic looking at the various innovative ways that rubber is used in the defence industry, so let’s take a look as to just how important and versatile rubber really is!
One of the more popular functions that rubber serves in the military is in rubber fuel tanks, also referred to as pillow bladders.
Essentially, pillow bladders safely store liquids and ensure that the contents of the tank are not exposed to the air which could cause evaporation or even explosion. The tanks can also be easily transported and organised; another valuable property of this material.
Did you know that rubber is used in Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment?
Used by a number of NATO armed forces, in particular, the British Army and United Sates Army, the strength and durability of rubber make it an efficient solution for load-bearing equipment and backpacks.
Barriers such as these serve the essential role of protecting civilian areas including harbours and marinas as well as other areas such as military shipyards and nuclear chemical plants.
The effectiveness of these floating inflatable rubber barriers used in ports can rapidly help stop oncoming boats progressing and are therefore fundamental in preventing seaborne terrorist attacks.
‘Once Only’ Suits
Should the need to abandon ship arise, these specially styled suits designed only to be used once can help protect sailors against risk from hypothermia. The incorporation of rubber around the wrists and neck of the suits serves the purpose of helping to prevent water from entering the suit.
Sonar Absorbing Materials
The role of submarines means that remaining discreet is critical in order to prevent the sonar from surface ships and airborne sonar recognising their presence.
The role of rubber, in this case, helps to reduce the ‘signature’ of the submarine to sonar detection by fitting rubber sonar-absorbing tiles onto the outside of the submarine.
Electro-Static Discharge Protection
If you’ve ever experienced a static shock when touching metal objects, then you will know that it can provide a rather strange sensation.
However, the effect of Electro-Static Discharges is much more serious as it can have the effect of clearing sensitive electrical equipment which must obviously be avoided with military equipment carrying such sensitivity.
Therefore, to help both personnel and the equipment from being affected, engineers wear specially designed ESD protective boots with rubber soles.
As you will probably have noticed, the function of rubber within the military serves a number of important roles which are so essential to the effective running of the defence industry. Whether it is to protect the military staff, civilians or defence equipment, the versatility of rubber helps to carry out a variety of important responsibilities. The full infographic discussed in this article can be found by heading to White Cross Rubber Products’ page here.