How well do you know rubber?

How well do you know rubber?

rubber-tree

The rubber tree and the tapping process

Without a doubt, rubber is a fundamental part of our lives, whether it is on the soles of our shoes or on the wheels of our cars. But how much do you really know about it?

To get things started, there are two main forms of rubber which are natural and synthetic. But where do they come from? Natural rubber is made from latex (white liquid) which is produced largely from Hevea brasiliensis trees. The latex is collected from a diagonal incision in the tree, known as the ‘tapping’ process and then made into rubber.

See the tapping process in action here:

Synthetic rubber is made by the polymerization of a variety of petroleum-based precursors called monomers. Types of synthetic rubbers include Neoprene, Silicone and Nitrile. What is natural rubber used for? It is used in products such as rubber bands, window profiles, erasers and flooring.