Key.Aero Network
Register Free

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Northwestern Rubber Company

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    1

    Northwestern Rubber Company

    Hello
    My grandfather, Alec Nourrey was the managing Director of the North Western Rubber Company, Liverpool and I have some samples of experiments made during WWII when they were trying to make a better quality recycled rubber for aeroplane tyres due to the shortage of raw rubber. Both my grandfather and my mother have died so I can't ask them about the tyre production. I have recently become involved with a WWII re-enactment group and they want me to show my samples when the Old Forge Wartime House, Sittingbourne is open to the public. I am delighted to do this but would like to have more information at my fingertips. Google searches haven't proved very useful and I am wondering if somebody out there knows anything.
    Thanks for reading my post.
    Sue

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    869
    Sue, forgive me if you know some of this information, but I will try to share some of the context of your family's work. Most U.K. rubber came from Malaya, and this source became unavailable after the Japanese occupation from Dec 1941. Rubber was a critical material, not only for high performance aircraft tyres, but in myriad other critical applications : seals for castor oil based hydraulic fluid systems, such as the Mosquito. This was designed for high altitude reconnaissance, and mineral based fluids could freeze, so no rubber, no Mosquito. The aircraft also used solid rubber shock absorbers, and rubber in self sealing fuel tank coatings, fuel hoses, hydraulic hoses, instrument mountings, Merlin engine seals. All absolutely critical. This criticality was common across all aeroplane designs, even those using castor oil based oleo undercarriage struts. The entire Air Force was exposed by the cutting off of Malayan rubber supply, only later met by South American rubber, convoyed at great cost across the Atlantic, and competitively demanded by the US defense industry. It was a dire situation. Note the Germans, already exposed to a 'rubber vulnerability' were dealing with this issue in the 30's, developing polyurethane as a rubber alternative. Once rubber is vulcanised, or heat set, it cannot be 'unvulcanised' or reused as a material with the characteristics of virgin material. This is the modern predicament of recycling millions of used automotive tyres today. It can be shredded and the crumb may be incorporated as a filler, with obvious compromises in engineering performance. So most of the wartime work was exploring what virgin rubber products could be replaced with 'agglomerations' of recycled crumb, without compromising performance, freeing virgin material for critical applications such as hydraulic seals. One that comes to mind are solid rubber wheels used under tank treads. My understanding is that aeroplane tyres, a critical performance item, stayed using virgin material, but I would be curious to see paperwork exploring the topic. Retreading was developed to economise tyre demand, as well as standardisation of wheel and tyre types. I would always be interested to see copies of technical reports on rubber tyre or component production.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    869
    I'd rubber like to know the latex news, Sue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Farlam, Cumbria
    Posts
    1,195
    P&P Buna S was styrene butadiene copolymer that was crosslinked - it is not a polyurethane.
    Kind Regards,

    Brian

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    869
    Thanks Brian. I am also probably wrong on the Axis being denied rubber - no doubt they were buying in South America too, but what I can't figure out is how the ships got from there to Hamburg and Bremen. From other threads I understand US bearings were being sold into South America and onsold to Germany, ending up in DB engines. So if you are flying a Beaufighter in the North Sea on an anti-shipping strike, how do you figure it is a 'neutral vessel' before coming in? How was it possible for the U Boats to almost cripple supply lines to the UK, but this seems to be less of an issue for Nazi Germany, with all its shipborne trade funneling into the Baltic? Rotterdam? How do you get a ship into Rotterdam without being taken out? What am I missing here? What neutral nation was carrying Nazi Germany's lifeblood, and sending ships into a war zone? A few centuries earlier and Francis Drake would be swinging on a rope over the side with a cutlass in his teeth, and taking booty! I understand the Swedish ore trade was allowed to continue, using unmolested Swedish ships, to supply critical iron ore to both Germany and the UK, but how was the rubber for German tyres getting in? No rubber, no war. If a Swedish ship, must of had a big IKEA sign painted on the deck. Had to be a reason for Nazi Germany to take out Norway and Denmark, but not Sweden. Sorry Sue for hijacking your thread, but you're not in, love !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Farlam, Cumbria
    Posts
    1,195
    Sorry I am a chemist and a pedant.

    Have you checked the story on making balsa from seaweed as the U-boats had significantly cut Balsa supplies from South America and it was hitting Mossie production too.
    Kind Regards,

    Brian

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    105
    The Northwich southern by pass was not complete at the start of the war but had long dual carriageway sections already metalled but not all linked to the existing road network. Locals recall that one section was fenced off and became a rubber recycling depot in order to create, presumably, a strategic reserve. One contended nothing ever moved out of the depot for the duration of the war, presumably because other supplies were adequate, but it may be possible that the experiments in post1 were still on going.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    869
    Brian, how do you make balsa from seaweed, fascinating ! I do not know this story, where can I chase it up please.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Farlam, Cumbria
    Posts
    1,195

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

- Part of the    Network -

KEY AERO AVIATION NEWS

MAGAZINES

AVIATION FORUM

SHOP

 

WEBSITES