Actually I suspect the rubber as it comes from the manufacturer is more like the tempered condition for steel. I was actually thinking of a different model, cold rolling steel to increase its tensile strength while its brittleness also goes up. Problem is, I strongly suspect at a molecular level the mechanisms aren't the same, even if similar, so I can't touch on the how question. I know how steel cold hardens, I don't know how rubber does it. Wrong courses of study. But the macro affect is certainly verified by many sources.Sort of like tempering steel to just below its critical temperature to improve its ductility. And if not, I understand that there is definitely a correlation between the stretch and optimizing the energy output of the rubber.
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