Natural vs. Synthetic Rubber: What’s The Difference?

Rubber is an elastic, durable, and waterproof substance used in a variety of applications, and it comes in two different forms: natural rubber and synthetic rubber. 

Natural rubber is almost exactly what it sounds like–rubber that is created through natural sources. Natural rubber is present within nature through different types of plants, including Hevea Brasiliensis (the “rubber” tree), the Panama rubber tree, rubber figs, and even common dandelions. However, Hevea Brasiliensis has long been the top source for natural rubber, as it is extracted from the tree in the form of latex. This type of rubber is typically used for commercial use in certain industries, such as the automotive or aerospace industries.

Synthetic rubber, on the other hand, is produced artificially via the polymerisation of monomers into polymers. Due to this process, there are several different types of synthetic rubber being produced and they each have their own purposes. For example, certain types of synthetic rubber are found in objects such as balloons, wetsuits, PPE, rubber bands, and the soles of our shoes.

The type of rubber that you choose depends on the purpose of its application.

One of the benefits of natural rubber is that it is an elastomer, which means that it is an elastic substance and is capable of reverting back to its original form after it’s been stretched. It is known for its strength and flexibility, and certain additives to this material can cause it to be salt water-resistant as well.

Conversely, synthetic rubber has been a beneficial substitute in the sense that it has been shown to have a higher resistance to factors such as temperature, aging, and abrasion. It is also the cheaper option out of the two to produce. Although natural rubber has been known to be salt water-resistant, the Neoprene in synthetic rubber actually makes it the preferred option for marine applications. 

In short, both of these options work well for different applications and purposes, and it’s a necessity to do your own research to see which option is best for you.

We are a leading custom extrusion manufacturer, whether rubber, silicone, or plastic. We can deliver short runs or products with quantities in the tens of thousands, with unparalleled service and on-time deliveries to meet your schedule. Request a quote on custom rubber extrusions, or contact us to discuss your project.

NW Rubber Extruders