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Rubber Matting: Natural or Synthetic?

High quality rubber matting is made of either natural rubber or synthetic rubber but which is the better option?

Natual Rubber

A type of polymer that is extracted from the sap of a rubber tree, natural rubber is mainly found in South America, Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (Source: Trelleborg). It is harvested as a milky liquid called latex.

Physical properties

Natural rubber is a good insulator which makes it a great material for electrical rubber matting. Some other properties of natural rubber include:

  • High elasticity
  • Plasticity
  • Tensile strength
  • Elongation and abrasion resistance
  • Anti-fatigue characteristics
  • Weathering resistance

Synthetic Rubber

According to Carnegie Mellon University, synthetic rubber is an artificial elastomer synthesised from petroleum oil. Made by scientists and engineers, it is made from various monomers after polymerisation. Since synthetic rubber is man-made, it has more physical, chemical and mechanical properties compared to natural rubber.

What is Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR)?

It is the most common and the cheapest variety of synthetic rubber. Manufactured from petroleum sourced from oil refineries, styrene and butadiene serve as the raw materials for SBR.

A comparison of natural and synthetic rubber

Natural rubber and synthetic rubber are both useful materials. However, synthetic rubber is said to have more advantages due to the following reasons: (Source: Dong Rubber)

  • Synthetic rubber is easier to produce. Natural rubber requires continuous planting and proper maintenance of trees. The trees where natural rubber is sourced might die after several years and they only grow in countries with a tropical climate.
  • Synthetic rubber has a better resistance to extreme temperatures and corrosive environments.
  • Synthetic rubber offers greater elasticity and has a greater resistance to oil.
  • Synthetic rubber is more widely used in different industries compared to natural rubber.

 

Coruba is a leading rubber product distributor in the UK, offering both naturally and synthetically produced rubber alternatives. With all your enquiries please call 01702 811 606.



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