Rubber Band Elasticity and Temperature (2023)

Rubber Band Elasticity andTemperature

|Background info |Problem | Review of Literature | Question | Hypothesis | Materials | Procedures |

|Setup Pictures | Data |Graph | Results |Discussion |Return to Research Page | Related Research |

Background Info:

In almost every office around theworld you can find a rubber band. Today rubber bands are most commonly used tohold multiple items together. The rubber band’s elasticity, water resistance,and lightness have made it a universal commodity. Modifications to theoriginal rubber band patented in England on March 17, 1845 by Stephen Perryinclude aerobic bands, bracelets, and projectiles. Close to 21 million tons ofrubber were produced in 2005 (“History”). On average, most rubber bands aremade out of natural rubber, which performs better under extreme heat thansynthetic rubber (Bartleby 2001).

Rubber has been widely usedthroughout the past era. During World War I Germany created a synthetic rubberto be used in its weapons, but it was too costly. After trade was cut to theEast Indies in World War II, which produced most of the United States naturalrubber, the Allies decided to begin manufacturing rubber. Synthetic rubber wasless costly and continues to account for the majority of the world’s rubberproduction today.

Statement of the Problem:

The purpose of this experiment is tosee how the change in temperature affects the elasticity of a rubber band.

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Review of Literature:

(Video) Elasticity and Temperature Rubber Experiment | Physics Experiment You Can Do At Home!

While experimenting, we have tokeep in mind the different variables involved in the range of elasticity of therubber band. Vulcanization of the rubber will allow it to be stretched furtherwithout breaking (CEC 2007). By making sure the water level is a constantvariable we will be able to tell how dependent the rubber bands elasticity ison the change of temperature. When implied force is put on the rubber band anincrease and decrease of temperature will show its elasticity effect(McGraw-Hill 2001). To preserve the longest life span of the rubber band whennot using it, it’s best to place it in a refrigerator, where no force is put onit. In addition, we must take into account the condition of the rubber band asthe temperature increases in order to decrease the probability of error.“Whether a material expands or contracts when it is heated can be ascribed to aproperty of the material called its entropy” (Shakhashiri). Using the theoryon entropy in connection with the elasticity of the rubber band, it can be saidthat the higher the temperature the higher the entropy level and lower theorderliness of the molecules that make up the rubber. Rubber bands in generalstretch more in the presence of heat as Frye states, “rubber contracts when it gets colder. The molecules in the rubber bandget closer together. This affects the elasticity…” This means that theband will not be able to stretch as far or support as much weight. We willneed to make sure that all these factors remain constant throughout the experimentto present the most valid results.


How does the temperature of a rubberband affect the distance it stretches when submersed in water and supporting a constantweight?


We believe that, as the temperature ofthe water increases, the rubber band will become more elastic, and therefore itwill stretch further. The temperature of the water is the independentvariable, and the length of the band is the dependent variable. Knowing thatthe rubber bands are made out of natural rubber, we think that they willstretch further under warmer temperatures without breaking.

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1.One natural Rubber Band


3.2 wire metals (which are bendable)

(Video) Rubber Band Thermodynamics

4.White board marker

5.One 1000mL beaker


7.Paper and pencil




First, collect the above materials, and finda room at room temperature (about 23° Celsius). The three constants in the labare the weight, wire, rubber band, and water level. It is important to separatelyweigh the weights, wires, and rubber band. After weighing, tie the larger wirearound the rubber band (see photos below), and with the smaller wire connectthe weight onto the other side of the rubber band. Place the rubber band flaton a table and mark two lines from where the rubber band’s elasticity will bemeasured. Then measure the length of the rubber band within the marks just drawn.Next, observe the 1000ml beaker and convert the distance the rubber band couldstretch from ml to cm. Then the experiment can begin. Begin by testing thecoldest temperatures. To do this, fill the beaker with ice cubes. Once the icehas melted, put the thermometer in the water to check its temperature (it shouldbe approximately 3° C). Place the apparatus into the beaker once it hasreached the right water temperature. Wait a few seconds and observe how farthe rubber band has stretched. The elasticity will be measured from the marks drawnon the rubber band. Keep the rubber band submerged in the water as thetemperature rises. Every 3° C the water rises, record how far the rubber bandstretches. Once the water temperature has reached room temperature take therubber band out of the beaker. Mark the water level on the beaker after takingthe rubber band out. Then, pour out the water and replace it with boilingwater. Fill the beaker with boiling water until it reaches the marked line.Place your apparatus back into the beaker and record how far it stretches. Keepthe rubber band in as the water temperature decreases. Record how far the rubberband stretches every 3° C change, until it has reached room temperature.Refill beaker with ice cubes and repeat all procedures, as explained above, fortwo more trials. Finally, plot the data from the three trials and observe howthe rubber band's elasticity changed with the different temperatures. Bygraphing the results, it is easier to determine if the hypothesis was corrector not.

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Setup Pictures:

(Video) Sup2 - Rubber bands and entropic elasticity - UCSD NANO 134 - Darren Lipomi

Rubber Band Elasticity and Temperature (1)

As seen in the pictures, we tied one end of the rubberband to the wire, and the other end was connected to the weights. We thensubmerged the band and the weights into the water that fills the beaker to1000mL. We recorded the temperature of the water and measured the length of therubber band after each interval of temperature dropped or rose (3° C). Thelength we measured was the distance from the top of the water to where therubber band was connected to the weights.

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Rubber band length

Weight of the weights

Weight of the Rubber band

Weight of the metal device holding the Rubber band






Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3






























































Rubber Band Elasticity and Temperature (2)

Data File (text, tab delimited)

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(Video) A refrigerator that works by stretching rubber bands

Takinginto consideration the fact that we used the same band for repeated trials, theelasticity of the band may have been affected. Aside from this, our datademonstrates that the rubber bands do, in fact, stretch more when submerged inwarmer water.

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The applications ofthis study at first seem obscure. But, when viewed in broad terms, it opensquestions to how changes in temperature affect specific materials. Although thesnap of a rubber band is not usually a cause of worry, the collapse of anoperating bridge is. The experiment also points out the major weakness of arubber band: increased entropy with increased temperature. The question nowbecomes: how do we build a better rubber band?

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A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, Volume 1, by Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, The University of WisconsinPress, 2537 Daniels Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Frye, M. (2001, January 31). How doestemperature affect elasticity of a rubber band?
Retrieved October 30, 2007, from <>.“History.” <>
McGraw Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. 1960, McGraw-Hill, NewYork, New York. Pgs. 672-684.
P. W. Allen, Natural Rubber and the Synthetics (1972); M. Morton, RubberTechnology
(3d ed. 1987).
“Rubber.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 2001–04. <>. Oct.2007.
"Secret of Rubber Band." Rubber Bands Specialist. July 2007. CentralElastic
Corporation. October 28, 2007.< +elasticity&hl=en&ct=clnk &cd=8&gl=us&client=firefox-a>.

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How does temperature affect elasticity? ›

At higher temperatures, bonds between crystals become weak. So, same stress will produce a much larger strain, and crystals are not pulled back to same position, as intermolecular forces are weak, as said above. So, elasticity decreases at high temperatures.

What factors affect the elasticity of a rubber band? ›

Rubber bands in general stretch more in the presence of heat as Frye states, “rubber contracts when it gets colder. The molecules in the rubber band get closer together. This affects the elasticity…” This means that the band will not be able to stretch as far or support as much weight.

What temperature can rubber bands withstand? ›

Natural rubber should not be used in applications with continuous temperature of above 85 °C. For some high-temperature applications, that simply isn't high enough. However, certain synthetic grades of rubber have been chemically engineered to deliver superlative heat resistance in excess of 300 °C.

What is the elasticity of a rubber band? ›

Rubber elasticity refers to a property of crosslinked rubber: it can be stretched by up to a factor of 10 from its original length and, when released, returns very nearly to its original length.

Why do rubber bands last longer when refrigerated? ›

When a rubber band is in its relaxed state it is very unordered, and will cool when going from a structured state to a relaxed state. So when a rubber band is put in the refrigerator it makes the polymers even more relaxed due to the way they behave in the cold.

Does increase in temperature cause elasticity? ›

when temperature increase then material start to become soft. Therefore elasticity decreases with rise in temperature.

How does temperature affect the elasticity of a rubber band science buddies? ›

Your results might have surprised you - the rubber band actually expands when it gets colder!

What are four factors that affect elasticity? ›

Many factors determine the demand elasticity for a product, including price levels, the type of product or service, income levels, and the availability of any potential substitutes. High-priced products often are highly elastic because, if prices fall, consumers are likely to buy at a lower price.

Does heat affect rubber bands? ›

By heating the rubber band, we increase the entropy. The molecules become more disordered and tangled, and thus the rubber band shrinks. This is just the opposite of what happens when we stretch the band.

What temperature does rubber soften? ›

Softening Rubber With Heat

The temperature range you seek is roughly 200-220°F (93-104°C). Temperatures above this range will likely do more damage than good. Remember to clean rubber objects, ideally with just water, before heating them.

Is rubber sensitive to temperature? ›

Although natural rubber retains excellent physical strength and elasticity, it is highly susceptible to damage caused by extreme temperatures and environmental factors.

Does a rubber band have high elasticity? ›

Materials like rubber have a high elasticity. This is because it is made up of millions of long and bendable chains of molecules. You can apply stress on these chains in any direction, but they will always return to their original shape. Ever wonder what holds your underpants up or why a rubber band stretches so much?

How do you increase the elasticity of rubber? ›

Vulcanizing agents are substances like sulfur which when added to crude rubber reduce its plasticity while maintaining its elasticity. These are essential for vulcanization of rubber.

Do rubber bands lose their elasticity? ›

Rubber bands wear out over time and also tend to lose their elasticity due to frequent washing as the softeners dissolve.

Why do rubber bands shrink when heated? ›

When the rubber band is stretched, heating the rubber molecules causes them to move around more. As a result, the polymers become less aligned and more naturally disordered. This causes the rubber band to shrink. In other words, the molecules become more tangled, leading the rubber band to contract.

Does freezing rubber bands make them last longer? ›

Cold temperatures make the polymers in the rubber more relaxed. This prevents them from degrading or forming the dry rot that causes them to break just when you need them most.

How do you keep rubber bands from deteriorating? ›

Storing your rubber bands properly will extend their useful life and keep your office space tidier.
  1. Separate rubber bands into piles according to size.
  2. Place each pile into separate sealable freezer bags. ...
  3. Place the bags in a lidded container and place this in a cool, dark area, such as a closet or drawer.

How does the elasticity of most material change with temperature? ›

So, the effect of temperature on the value of Young's modulus of elasticity for various substances in general is that it decreases with rise in temperature.

Is temperature inversely proportional to elasticity? ›

The modulus of elasticity is inversely proportional to temperature. That is it decreases with increase in temperature.

How does cold temperature affect elasticity? ›

Yes--a rubber band will actually become softer, or easier to stretch, when the temperature gets colder. The way to think of the elasticity is in terms of entropy, which is basically a measure of disorder.

How does temperature affect elasticity of a rubber ball? ›

When the ball is heated, it becomes more elastic, as the bonds are able to move more freely and thus are able to stretch more than those in a cooler ball, and thus less energy is lost (Portz, 2011). This then means that the ball bounces higher.

What causes elasticity to increase? ›


The main reason for change in the elasticity of demand with change in price of some goods is the availability of their competing substitutes. The larger the number of close substitutes of a good available in the market, greater the elasticity for that good.

What is the biggest factor affecting elasticity of supply? ›

As with demand elasticity, the most important determinant of elasticity of supply is the availability of substitutes. In the context of supply, substitute goods are those to which factors of production can most easily be transferred.

What affects elasticity of a material? ›

The two parameters that determine the elasticity of a material are its elastic modulus and its elastic limit. A high elastic modulus is typical for materials that are hard to deform; in other words, materials that require a high load to achieve a significant strain.

Which of the following affects the elasticity? ›

The elasticity of a substance is affected by Impurity of substance Hammering and annealing Change in temperature.

How does changes over time affect elasticity? ›

Elasticities are often lower in the short run than in the long run. Changes that just aren't possible to make in a short amount of time are realistic over a longer time frame. On the demand side, that can mean consumers eventually make lifestyle choices—like buying a more fuel efficient car to reduce their gas usage.

What are the factors that determine elasticity of demand? ›

The five factors that affect price elasticity of demand are:
  • Luxury.
  • Time period.
  • Availability of substitutes.
  • Necessity and demand of a commodity.
  • The proportion of income spent on the good.

Does heat tighten rubber? ›

Rubber is a common elastic substance, used everywhere from gloves to gaskets. Like an old T-shirt that has seen many runs through the dryer, rubber shrinks when exposed to heat. You can easily shrink rubber using hot water or by blowing hot air onto it.

Does rubber get softer with heat? ›

Loosening and Softening Rubber

Simple heat applications can loosen rubber, restoring some amount of flexibility and softness for a time, though heat will also shorten the life span of the rubber.

Do rubber bands absorb heat? ›

If the stretched rubber band feels cool, then it absorbs heat from your skin. If it feels warm, then it gives off heat to your skin. If the band feels neither warm nor cool, then there is no detectable heat flow.

At what temperature does rubber becomes brittle? ›

Well-vulcanized rubber does not crystallize, but loses its ability to retract when stretched. Crude or elastic rubber, however, loses elasticity completely if cooled to 70-80° F. below zero. If bent suddenly at right angles a glass-like breakage occurs.

Does heat make rubber stronger? ›

Thermal expansion caused the rubber bands to react as they did. When the rubber bands were heated, the particles stretched out, making them more elastic and able to withstand greater force.

At what temperature does natural rubber become brittle? ›

Natural rubber is a thermoplastic. It becomes soft and sticky when heated at high temperature (lower than 62oC) and brittle at low temperature (10oC).

Which rubber is stable at high temperature? ›

Silicone rubber, unlike the majority of other rubbers, can withstand extreme temperatures way above 200°C and down to as low as -60°C without deforming.

Does rubber get stiff in cold? ›

The technical answer is, no, rubber cannot freeze but it does get hard and brittle. The scientific definition of to freeze involves a phase shift of liquid into solid forming crystals. This phase occurs as a result of the temperature reaching the freezing point of the substance.

What temperature is rubber good for? ›

Natural Rubber (NR) Gum

It has good abrasion resistance and excellent low temperature flexibility. Without special additives, it has poor resistance to ozone, oxygen, sunlight and heat. It has poor resistance to solvents and petroleum products. Useful temperature range is -67° F to +180° F (-55° C to +82° C).

Which rubber is more elastic? ›

By this deflation, steel is more elastic than rubber because steel comes back to its original shape faster than rubber when the deforming forces are removed.

What happens to rubber when heated? ›

Polymers like rubber shrink on heating as their molecular chains curl up, and water shrinks when warmed from its freezing point to around 4°C. After that, though, it behaves normally, and expands on warming.

What makes rubber more flexible? ›

Sulfur atoms also can form bonds among themselves (disulfide bonds) and cross-link adjacent polyisoprene strands to form a netlike structure in the rubber. This cross-linking strengthens the polyisoprene to make it harder, flexible and more durable.

What happens when you put too much tension on a rubber band? ›

A rubber band's purpose is to hold objects together using tension. But with too little tension, the rubber band flops. With too much, the rubber band snaps. This principle is also true in organizations.

Does latex lose elasticity? ›

Resilience. Latex is renowned for its elasticity, always rebounding to its original shape. As a result, there's only minimal height and hardness loss over the years.

Is elasticity independent of temperature? ›

For most of the materials, elasticity decreases with temperature. One exception is invar steel.

Does heat weaken elastic? ›

Another factor that can diminish the lifespan of your elastics is exposing them to heat. It is best to keep your elastics out of they dryer, but even hanging them out in the sun can cause damage.

Why does the modulus of elasticity decrease with increase in temperature? ›

Because due to increase in temperature intermolecuular force decreases.

When temperature increases modulus of elasticity will increase? ›

Hence, the modulus of elasticity decreases as temperature increases and vice versa.

What affects elasticity the most? ›

Key Takeaways. Many factors determine the demand elasticity for a product, including price levels, the type of product or service, income levels, and the availability of any potential substitutes. High-priced products often are highly elastic because, if prices fall, consumers are likely to buy at a lower price.

At what temperature does rubber become brittle? ›

Well-vulcanized rubber does not crystallize, but loses its ability to retract when stretched. Crude or elastic rubber, however, loses elasticity completely if cooled to 70-80° F. below zero. If bent suddenly at right angles a glass-like breakage occurs.

Which material the elasticity remains unaffected for any change in temperature? ›

Invar steel is a Fe-Ni alloy steel which does not experience any thermal expansion in the extremely low temperature environment (-163C) or the above room temperature environment.

What are the 3 factors that determine elasticity? ›

Factors that determine the elasticity of demand would be the availability of substitutes, the share of the good's expense in individuals' income, and the passage of time.

Does high heat ruin elastic? ›

Drying Clothes with Elastic Bands

The high heat can cause the elastic to melt or become brittle, significantly reducing its lifespan. Instead, it's best to air dry any items with elastic bands—a clothes drying rack will be your best friend here.

Why do rubber bands become brittle? ›

Over time, rubber loses its ability to stretch, becoming hard and brittle. This process of perishing occurs because exposure of the rubber to light and air induces chemical changes in the polyisoprene over time.


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