The Effect of Heat on Rubber

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Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 5th - 6th;  Type: Chemistry


In this experiment, we will investigate the effects of heat on rubber. We will be using rubber bands as rubber.

Research Questions:

How are both types of natural and synthetic rubbers made?

To keep it basic, rubber is a stretchy polymeric material. There are actually 2 kinds of rubber- natural and man-made. The first rubber was natural rubber, which came from latex-which came from certain plants and trees. Synthetic rubber is made from chemicals and are very often stronger than their natural counterparts because natural rubber has a small amount of impurities in it, which alters the properties of the rubber.

However, even though rubber can stretch a great deal, it has a threshold, depending on the bonds and individual properties of it. At this threshold, the rubber will snap and break apart.

Rubber is used daily in many applications including rubber bands, swimming caps, a variety of medical uses, and industrial uses.


  • Several rubber bands of same dimensions
  • Lit candle or lighter
  • Freezer
  • Ruler
  • Tweezer
  • Safety goggles
  • A friend to help you

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Put on your safety goggles (your friend should put some on too).
  2. Take one of the rubber bands and stretch it as far as you can with both hands.
  3. Have a friend measure with a ruler how far it stretched.
  4. Record the measurement.
  5. Now put a rubber band in the freezer and chill it for about two hours.
  6. While the other rubber band is chilling, hold another rubber band above a candle flame with tweezers. Do not hold the rubber on the flame, hover it above for about one minute.
  7. Now try your best to stretch it out as far as you can.
  8. Have your friend measure the distance with a ruler once again and record the measurement.
  9. After two hours, take the chilled rubber band out of the freezer.
  10. Repeat steps 6-7 on this rubber band.
  11. Compare the stretchability.
  12. You may want to conduct several trials to ensure accuracy.

Suggested Chart

Distance of Stretch


Trial #1
Trial #2
Trial #3

Regular Rubber Band




Heated Rubber Band




Chilled Rubber Band





Terms/Concepts: Polymer;  Elastomer; Natural Rubber; Synthetic Rubber; Latex; Elasticity


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