Rubber has the properties of flexibility, strength and elasticity. Natural rubber is obtained
from the rubber tree and is poly-cis-1,4-isoprene. Several kind of synthetic rubbers are
Vulcanisation is the process whereby the polymer chains of the rubbers are cross-linked,
making use of the double bond present. Sulphur is the most common cross-linking
A variety of other compounds are added to give the final rubber product the required
Natural rubber has a high tensile strength and is resistant to fatigue from wear such as chipping, cutting or tearing. On the other hand, natural rubber has only moderate resistance to damage from exposure to heat, light and the ozone in the air. Natural rubber also has tack, which means it can adhere to itself as well as other materials. It adheres particularly well to steel cord, which makes it an excellent material for use in tires.
In general, synthetic rubber offers better resistance to abrasion than natural rubber, as well as superior resistance to heat and the effects of aging. Many types of synthetic rubber are flame-resistant, so it can be used as insulation for electrical devices. It also remains flexible at low temperatures and is resistant to grease and oil.
Natural vs. Synthetic Rubber
Overall, the combined properties of natural rubber outweigh synthetic rubbers or combinations of synthetic rubbers available. However, synthetic rubber is advantageous because it is easier to produce. Natural rubber is a crop able to grow only in tropical climates and it doesn’t age well, so for many countries it is easier to use synthetic rubber.. Synthetics may also be more useful in certain applications because of their resistance to extreme temperatures and corrosive environments.