In the early theories of rubber elasticity, the retractive force and change in free energy of a stretched specimen were calculated from the deformation of the polymer chains of which the rubber network was formed. The mean chain deformation was presumed to be the same as that of the macroscopic specimen, an assumption which seemed reasonable, but could not be confirmed experimentally. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) made measurement of chain dimensions possible, and it was soon discovered ,  that the actual relation between dimensional changes of the polymer chain and deformation of the specimen was not at all what had been assumed.
SANS studies of carefully prepared elastomeric networks provide the most direct experimental information required for a molecular theory of rubber elasticity, and have stimulated many new developments.
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Ullman, R. Polymer Chain Deformation in Stretched and Swollen Elastomers. MRS Online Proceedings Library 79, 225–239 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-79-225