Meaning of Synthetic Rubber
Synthetic rubber is created from petroleum and is classified as an artificial elastomer. This means that it can be deformed without damage and can return to its original shape after being stretched.
Man-made rubber has many advantages over natural rubber and is used in many applications due to its superior performance. The use of synthetic rubber is much more prominent than natural rubber in most industrialized nations.
Synthetic rubber is often used in car tires.
Natural rubber, in contrast to the man-made type, is not a petroleum product, but is grown on the Hevea brasiliensis, or rubber tree. Mature rubber trees produce latex, which can be harvested without damaging the tree. One of the main disadvantages of natural rubber is its limited supply.
The demand for rubber sources began to increase rapidly with the invention of automobiles and car tires. Many scientists searched for a synthetic alternative in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until World War II that synthetic rubber replaced natural sources.
The war in the Pacific during this time cut off the United States’ supply of rubber from the East Indies. Artificial rubber production during the 1940s expanded to more than 100 times pre-war levels.
The creation of artificial rubber begins with petroleum. Two gases called butadiene and styrene are produced as byproducts during the oil refining process.
Liquid latex, a basic form of synthetic rubber, is created when butadiene and styrene are properly combined. After liquid latex is allowed to dry, it can be formed into different shapes and used by manufacturing facilities in place of natural rubber.
Synthetic rubber is used in a wide variety of applications. In addition to its importance in automobile tires, artificial rubber is also commonly used to produce medical equipment, molded parts, and machinery belts.
Many industrial hoses and seals are also created with artificial rubber.
There are several popular varieties of synthetic rubber. These are usually created by combining chemicals in different amounts during the rubber production process. Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) is very common and can withstand temperatures between -40 and 212 F (-40 to 100 C).
This type of rubber is widely used in aircraft and automobile tire treads, and also for conveyor belts and other industrial products.
Isoprene rubber (IR) can handle higher temperatures than styrene butadiene rubber. IR has a maximum temperature tolerance of 266 F (130 C).
This man-made rubber is often used in products that must withstand high levels of heat, such as vehicle heater hoses and high-performance tires.