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"Do Your Bulbs Bloom?"

Blooming is great for tulips, daisies and other flora but not for dropper bulbs. A cursory history of rubber processing explains why this phenomenon occurs in rubber products. Rubber in its natural form is not very useful. It is sticky and easily deformed. It smells at high temperatures and is brittle at low temperatures. In 1839, Charles Goodyear accidentally discovered that natural rubber can be vulcanized, a process that changes the structure and properties of the rubber. Sulphur is used as the vulcanizing agent. This process, which covers the rubber in sulphur, produces a material with the useful elastic properties we associate with natural rubber products today. In recent years, a wide variety of ingredients have been added to “natural rubber” to further improve and refine its properties, including its mold-ability. These ingredients include colorants, accelerators, activators, anti-degradants and fillers. These additives can migrate from the inner structure of the bulb component to its surface causing discoloration or “blooming” as in the photograph at right.

To minimize the occurrence of this phenomenon, the bulb should be kept away from heat and direct sunlight. Another alternative is to use dropper bulbs made from materials that do not bloom. For more information please call 443-436-9400.

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