Natural rubber becomes soft at high temperature (>335 K) and brittle at low temperatures (<283 k) and shows high water absorption capacity. It is soluble in non-polar solvents and is non-resistant to attack by oxidising agents. To improve upon these physical properties, a process of vulcanisation is carried out. This process consists of heating a mixture of raw rubber with sulphur and an appropriate additive at a temperature range between 373 K to 415 K. On vulcanisation, sulphur forms cross links at the reactive sites of double bonds and thus the rubber gets stiffened.
In the manufacture of tyre rubber, 5% of sulphur is used as a crosslinking agent