Rubber thread collected and derived from the latex of the Hevea brasiliensis tree possesses various excellent physical qualities of natural rubber elastomer, making it the preferred material for global use. One prime example of a product that extensively utilizes rubber thread as its primary material is the medical glove. These gloves prioritize elasticity to maximize their usability and place significant emphasis on providing adequate barrier protection against microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and infectious fluids. This ensures the safety of both medical personnel and patients during direct contact or medical procedures.
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Until now, gloves made from natural latex have been renowned for their exceptional barrier properties, high strength, excellent elasticity, tactile sensitivity, comfort, fit, and durability. This outstanding quality remains unmatched by gloves manufactured using materials other than natural latex, such as synthetic alternatives.
But the critical question is, how does a simple form of rubber thread made from natural latex manage to transform into one of the most important and commonly used medical appliances?
From rubber tree sap into safety medical gloves
Multiple steps and various ingredients are needed to transform rubber thread into gloves. These include :
To create medical gloves, one of the initial steps involves mixing milky latex fluid collected from rubber trees with additives like sulfur, accelerators, and stabilizers. This mixture improves the properties of latex and creates a suitable blend for making medical gloves.
In this step, rubber thread in its filament form is incorporated to enhance the strength and elasticity of the future gloves. During the dipping process, molds shaped like hands are immersed into the mixture multiple times to achieve the desired thickness coating.
To ensure the durability of the gloves, molds that have been thoroughly coated with the latex mixture undergo a vulcanization process. This process exposes the gloves to heat and sulfur, causing the rubber molecules to cross-link and enhancing the gloves' tear resistance.
For medical purposes, gloves are considered safe only when they contain a minimal fraction of extractable proteins (EP). This is crucial because EP can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Therefore, thorough leaching is essential to ensure that only a small fraction of EP remains in the gloves since EPs are soluble in water. Well-leached gloves have low EP content, indicating proper manufacturing, while gloves with high EP content do not meet these standards.
Continue to read Advantages Offered by Rubber Threads: Stretching Beyond Expectations
The importance of rubber gloves for medical use
In healthcare settings, gloves play an immensely important role during medical procedures and the provision of care. The use of gloves is actively promoted and recommended as a minimum standard precaution in medical settings to reduce the risk of healthcare workers coming into contact with patients' blood and other bodily fluids, which are likely to carry diseases. They also serve as a preventive measure against the transmission of infectious pathogens between patients and healthcare workers or vice versa. This is why medical gloves are designated for single-use only. The deliberate choice of natural rubber thread as the primary material for manufacturing them is due to natural latex being much more biodegradable compared to synthetic alternatives.