How exactly is a comfort mat able to provide cushioned flooring? Why is rubber shock-absorbent even when subjected to high levels of impact? What makes rubber different than other materials? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Pull up a chair, listen up and take some notes. Class is in session!
Before answering why a comfort mat is an effective cushioned floor surface, we have to understand the nature of the mat’s primary component: rubber. Rubber is composed of polymer molecules which are its structural units. Together, these polymer molecules bond with each other to form chains. Rubber is made up of many of these chains and forms a “three-dimensional network of randomly coiled chains” (http://apbrwww5.apsu.edu/robertsonr/chem3610-20/ELASTOMR.pdf). Just imagine a plate of spaghetti noodles and how the noodles weave into and out from each other in an indiscernible manner. The spaghetti-like chains are linked with other chains at random points, technically known as cross-links.
Still with me? Good. Now, pull out a rubber band and hold it in your hand. With no force being applied on the rubber band, the chains in the rubber band remain coiled and randomly arranged. Now, stretch the rubber band out. With the application of force, the chains uncoil and expand. The network of chains is no longer a plate of spaghetti, and instead straightens out while holding on to those bonded cross-links. Picture a slinky being stretched out from its coiled state. The slinky can be stretched but it will still remain intact. This is why rubber is elastic and flexible but will still maintain its structure.
So, why is rubber’s natural elasticity suited for cushioned flooring? Remember how rubber is a “network of randomly coiled chains?” Since this network is randomly arranged, there is wiggle room between the coiled chains. This small amount of wiggle room allows the chains to flex when force is applied. In essence, rubber is like a spring mattress that can absorb applied force and spring back when force is removed. Materials like concrete do not have this wiggle room and do not flex enough to absorb shock.
When your employees walk on the concrete production floor the force of their steps reverberate from the hard concrete floor and back into their joints and muscles. This is detrimental to an employee’s body, inducing fatigue and possible injury. By installing a cushion floor mat the force of their steps is absorbed into the rubber mat preventing any bodily harm that could hinder the performance of your employees.
The elasticity and flexibility of rubber are the primary characteristics that make a comfort mat an ideal solution for cushioned flooring. Even if you push all the complicated scientific explanations aside the benefits of rubber are ever-present in many of our day-to-day applications. From the shoes on our feet to the tires on our cars, rubber is utilized for its durability, resilience and excellent shock-absorbing properties. But, you don’t have to stop there. Set up a cushion floor mat on your production floor to protect your employees from fatigue and injury. Class dismissed!