In 1910, the Russian chemist Sergey Vasilyevich Lebedev became the first to synthesize something resembling rubber from divinyl. He obtained a few grams and presented them at a meeting of the Russian Chemical Society. Sergey Vasilyevich reacted calmly to the enthusiasm of his colleagues: “You see, two years of work – and only half an hour of results. This is a chemist's life: years of labor behind every word. But this is our strength.” In 1926, the Supreme Council of the National Economy of the USSR announced an international competition for the development of industrial production of synthetic rubber. The conditions were quite strict: it was necessary not only to describe the method, but also to present two kilograms of synthetic rubber and a ready scheme for its factory production from affordable and cheap raw materials. Lebedev managed to do it: he obtained synthetic rubber by polymerization of butadiene in presence of metallic sodium. And he found a very accessible raw material: he produced butadiene from ethyl alcohol. And alcohol was produced from most ordinary potatoes. However, lots of it was needed: at first, five hundred kilograms of potatoes was required to make one car tire.
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