Six types of rubber and their applications
We naturally think of rubber as one of the materials that helped propel the industrial revolution. Its use, in fact, stretches back to early South American civilization. The Olmec people from Mexico are believed to have been the first to use rubber, making balls for ball games.
Since then, the processing of Rubber has led to a great many synthetic types as can be seen at specialists in UK Rubber Moulding, with various grades and types now available in the UK rubber moulding market. Here are six common types.
1. Natural Rubber
Natural rubber, sometimes known as India Rubber, is rubber in its pure form. The rubber tree produces sticky latex milk, which is tapped or harvested and allowed to coagulate and dry in special coagulation tanks. Its durability, elasticity, and resistance to abrasion make it a good material for tyres and gloves.
2. Neoprene Rubber.
Invented by DuPont in 1930, Neoprene is a synthetic rubber. It has a better resistance to high temperatures and burning than natural rubbers and also addresses the problem of degradation from which its natural cousin suffers. These properties make it ideal for use in such things as seals, gaskets, insulation products, and latterly in homeware and lifestyle goods such as laptop sleeves.
3. Silicone Rubber
Silicone rubber is an elastomer product with very high resistance to temperature, being able to operate in a range between -55 and +300 C. It is odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic, making it an ideal product for kitchen use. It can be mixed with various types of fillers when high-grade use is not required, making it a relatively cheap, versatile, and widely used product.
4. Polyurethane Rubber.
This is another high-grade synthetic rubber. It is lightweight, electrically resistant, and has good anti-vibration properties, finding many uses in the automotive, marine, and construction industries, among others.
5. Nitrile Rubber.
One of the earliest synthetic elastomers, developed by BASF, its good resistance to oils makes it an ideal sealing material for use in machinery. Nitrile rubber is also hypoallergenic and used in many products in the health sector.
6. Butyl Rubber.
Butyl Rubber (Isobutylene-isoprene), has a wide range of uses, from being the binding agent in explosives to its extensive use in the audio industry, where its sound-deadening qualities make it ideal for use in speakers. There is even a food-grade version used in chewing gum.