Erasers Why and how they work

Erasers are a huge discovery that have evolved over the years. Imagine being a writer a long time ago. You would write an amazing book until you misspell a word and it would be ruined. All your hard work gone to waste just because you forgot the g in magic. If you have ever wondered how and why erasers work you are not alone. To find out more about erasers, read on.

Can You Make Your Own Erasers?

There are any ways to make erasers at home. Each way finishes with a different outcome. Some ways will work better than others.

The first one (which is the most common way to make an eraser) is just using eraser clay. You can find it at most craft stores. (It is a moldable clay that when cooked it can erase pencil lead.)

  • Mold it
  • Cook it in the oven.
  • (Follow the cooking instructions on the packaging.)
  • Set it in boiling water.
  • (Follow the cooking instructions on the packaging.)
  • Erase away!

The second way to do it is to use craft glue. (this one has a putty-ish outcome and involves some waiting time.)

  • Pour a little glue into a container.
  • Let it dry for 24 hours.
  • If it is sticky, let it dry for a few more hours.
  • Knead the glue until it is squishy and bouncy.
  • You are done!

The next method is to use sticky notes and another full eraser. (this method takes some time and requires elbow grease!)

  • Take an eraser and start erasing on a sticky note.
  • (The sticky part of it.)
  • Collect the shavings into a pile.
  • (A tablespoon amount is enough.)
  • Knead them together to make your eraser.

The last method is to make eraser slime. (This one is more for entertainment more than for actual use.)

  • Get a hi-polymer eraser.
  • Start erasing on a blank piece of paper until you have a good amount of shavings.
  • The more the better.
  • Put all of the shavings into a large bowl.
  • Add lotion.
  • (2-3 pumps.)
  • Mix it together.
  • Transfer the big clump into another bowl.
  • Add a large amount of elmer's glue.
  • If you want you can add some food coloring to make it look nicer.
  • Mix it all up.
  • Add some cornstarch.
  • There is no exact measurement so add it appropriately as you go.
  • Add a little liquid starch.
  • Mix it/knead it.
  • Dip it into more cornstarch.
  • Until it has a gum like consistency.
  • After kneading it a lot it will all decompose.
  • Add some more glue.
  • If needed add some more liquid starch.

This means that it is possible to make erasers, although it can require a lot of preparation.

What Types Of Erasers Are There?

There are many types of erasers used for different purposes. The first eraser is a gum eraser. Many artists use it because it crumbles as it erases. They also absorb the graphite. There is also the regular eraser. They are very effective, it is very precise and if you use it too much on paper it can damage it. As well as the gum eraser, there is such thing as a kneaded eraser. It is an eraser that is moldable. It doesn’t leave crumbs on the paper, takes the pigment off of the paper and is a good eraser to use for very fine detail. Another type of eraser is simply a pencil eraser. It is used for very precise spot and can’t be used too much on paper as it will ruin the paper. This means that there are different erasers for different purposes.

What Are Erasers’ History?

Erasers have come a long way since the beginning of time. Here is the story; At the beginning, people used rubber tablets or wax tablets to erase their writing. To erase ink, they would use parts of different types of rough stones (Sandstone or pumice). In Japan though, people would use pieces of soft bread! It was only in 1770 that Edward Nairne, (he was an English engineer) accidentally picked up a piece of rubber instead of bread and realised it would erase pencil marks. Later, he started selling it. Did you know that the reason that rubber is called rubber is because it rubs out pencil marks! Although it was a big moment, these first erasers didn’t work too well. They had many problems such as the fact that they crumbled when it was used it ran out really quickly, also, it was really sensitive to weather conditions outside, lastly, they reeked. After inventor Charles Goodyear realised that these erasers weren’t the best that they could be, he came up with a solution. He decided to find a method to cure the rubber or to preserve it to make it more durable. He decided to use the vulcanisation method. This shows that erasers have come a long way since the days of wet bread. According to “How Products Are Made, Erasers”, “Erasers have remained mostly unchanged for many years.” That shows that people tried to make improvements, all of those helping to make the eraser the best that it can be.

What Is In An Eraser?

There are different variations of erasers and there are different types of materials although, the main ingredient in erasers is rubber. There are two types of rubber that can be used to make erasers. Natural rubber is the first one. Natural rubber is rubber that has come from rubber trees. In places like Kerala, India because they do most of their work by hand, instead of having machines to get the rubber out of the trees, they have half coconut shells stuck to the trees. They cut slits in the trees for the rubber to flow out of. The other form of rubber that is used in erasers is synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber is rubber that is made chemically, and is not made from rubber trees. It is made to imitate the natural form of rubber. The other ingredient that is sometimes used is different types of colouring agents. Even though colouring agents are added sometimes, they do not affect how the eraser actually erases. Although there are erasers made of natural rubber, it is not common. According to the website “How Do Erasers Erase?”, “they're no longer made from natural latex rubber, which is an allergen for some people”. All of this shows that there are different strategies to make an eraser, each having its pros and cons.

How Do Erasers Work?

Erasers are very mysterious objects. According to Cristen Conger, pencil lead can stay on paper for decades and a simple eraser can remove the marks that can stay on a piece of paper for decades. Erasers work for different reasons. When the pencils gets in contact with the paper, all of the flakes from the pencils cling to the fibers on the paper. Because an eraser is stickier than the paper, it lifts all of those little flakes off. When you rub the eraser over the pencil mark, it very gently scratches the fibers of the paper. That makes the graphite flakes looser. Instead, of ripping the paper like you would expect it to do, the softeners in the erasers prevent these types of mishaps. Erasers also work because of friction. That means that then the eraser is rubbed against the paper, heat is formed helping the eraser become stickier. All of that sums up to making the eraser sticky enough to pick up the pencil’s particles.

What Is That “Stuff” That Gets Left Behind On The Paper After You Erase?

That “stuff” that is left behind is called an eraser shavings. Also, eraser shavings are what is created when the rubber in an eraser grabs the graphite particles. The result of that is that small pieces of rubber and graphite mixed together all over your paper. That is the “stuff” that you wipe off of your writing when you are done erasing.

Erasers have come a long way since the beginning of time. Now, if you write a fabulous essay on paper that you are extremely proud of and forget the z in wizards, all you have to do is take the eraser and rub slightly on the pencil mark. Suddenly, bazzam, it ain’t there no more! Maybe if you need a new eraser, consider your options. If you don’t want to get up and out of the house, use a piece of wet bread. Because after all, that was the first eraser!

Credits:

Created with images by joslex - "pencil pencils eraser" • stevepb - "pencil eraser notepad" • 422737 - "pencil eraser erase" • Hans - "eraser office supplies office" • pj_vanf - "to err is human" • C. VanHook (vanhookc) - "Clean up your mistakes and get to the point!"

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