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What’s New for Natural Rubber?

Natural rubber stems from sap collected from the Hevea brasiliensis, or rubber, tree. Despite around 75% of the world's rubber supply now coming from synthetic rubber, natural rubber still plays a vital role in creating a wide range of products used today, but what's new for this natural material?

Fueling car

© william87 / Adobe Stock

 

Natural rubber uses

Despite the prevalence of manmade rubber, there are still some situations where natural rubber is preferable. In particular, natural rubber is a vital component of vehicle tyres. Around half of all car tyres are made from natural rubber, while 100% of tyres used in the aviation industry consist of natural rubber.

This is because natural rubber boasts high-strength properties and superior resistance to fatigue, making it a unique material in the production of high-performance tyres. It also offers optimal properties for making radial tyres, which was a design style that emerged during the 1970s to make tyres far more efficient than previous designs.

Natural rubber also finds its way into other parts of a vehicle, as its durability makes it a strong and reliable material for use in brake pads, window and windshield seals, and even airbags.

 

Demand for rubber

The essential components of natural rubber ensure that demand for this material remains consistently strong, but the low price of the product may threaten its survival.

More than 20 million families rely on cultivating rubber as a source of income. Many of these are small-scale farmers who may decide to quit the industry if prices sink any lower, turning to more lucrative crops instead. If farmers stop supplying natural rubber, it will hit manufacturers hard.

Despite measures to stabilise prices, the end result has still been low incomes for rubber-producing farmers. Experts claim that in order to bolster the industry, more countries that produce rubber need to collaborate and invest in research and development. By doing this, demand for natural rubber will widen, and there will be increased uses for this vital product.

 

Rubber roads

One of the biggest potential new uses for natural rubber is as an ingredient for road surfaces. Natural rubber offers many advantages in roads, in that it makes them quieter, more durable and less prone to flooding. As well as using natural rubber in road construction projects, it could be used to make buildings, bridges and dams.

 

Transport

As the transport industry changes, natural rubber could adapt to meet the needs of vehicle users. In particular, research conducted in Japan concluded that where natural rubber is included in car tyres, this could favour the efficiency of those cars that are operated by battery. As more people choose to use electric vehicles, due to fuel savings and fewer emissions, natural rubber may take on a more prominent role in the production of these cars.

 

Renewable fuel

One of the biggest environmental concerns of recent times is carbon emissions, and finding a cleaner and greener fuel source for vehicles is key to tackle this pressing issue.

Various potential new breeds of fuel sources are gaining attention from scientists and researchers, and natural rubber may be one of them. Since natural rubber is a natural, non-fossil hydrocarbon, it offers the right chemical make-up that could go on to form a new type of renewable petrochemical.

This could have a huge impact on the carbon footprint of the planet, helping to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases. Crucially, it could boost worldwide demand for natural rubber, helping to push prices out of the vulnerable low zone and keep the industry stable.

With its superior properties, natural rubber is likely to enjoy widespread use, both now and in the future. If you require natural rubber sheeting for high-performance applications, you'll find an exceptional range of quality products at Coruba.



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