Consumers are accustomed to employing brand names and simple material titles in their day-to-day descriptions of rubber, which is fortunate because no shopper wants to reel off a long chemical term. When pointing out rubber product materials, engineers are sometimes guilty of the same crime, though we know well enough to switch to the proper terminology when we work with the product. We still place natural rubber high on the purchase list, thinking perhaps of days when rubber trees were tapped for organic latex, a natural polymer that made weatherproof clothing possible. Modern synthetic rubber skips the woods, forming instead as factory-fabricated synthetics. Here’s a look at the most common forms of this pliable polymer and the families or types used to fabricate these forms.
Impact absorption responsibilities and sealing supremacy come in straight at the top of the rubber product materials chart, with Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) and natural rubber heading the forms section of our study. Natural rubber, in particular, is the most established elastomer out there due to its availability. But this lead has reduced over the years as synthetic manufacturing techniques have improved. Natural products just don’t always have the molecular integrity to withstand contemporary industrial influences, which is why synthetic engineering is such an important science. Solvents, UV light, oils, all of these corrosive influences can defeat natural rubber over time, so we turn to elastomers, materials that include EPDM and silicone. EPDM, for example, is a master of weatherproofing, while silicone crosses applications, making inroads into electrical insulation and fluid sealing gaskets.
It’s almost possible to see certain types of rubber attain celebrity status as the wheel of time turns and industrial applications improve. For example, fluorelastomers are stealing the spotlight thanks to the petrochemical industry. Latex and silicone still rule inside medical facilities. EPDM is the material of choice for roofing and air conditioning due to its temperature and general weather resisting properties, but we turn to nitrile and fluorelastomers when sealing fuel hoses and oil lines. In an age where vehicles rely on fuel sources, these two synthetic elastomers rule. Of course, don’t discount the plumbing gasket, the cold and hot water conveying component seals that runs throughout every structure. These extruded plastic channels pair with stamped and moulded sealing discs, washers and gaskets, to place silicone out front, adding domestic duties to noteworthy industrial applications.
Civil engineering applications represent the other end of this wide spectrum. Out here, natural rubber still occupies the winner’s chair due to the evergreen material’s aptitude for handling mechanical shock, but times are a’changing. In conclusion, a wealth of rubber product materials act as an industrial foundation, adding elasticity to a world that would otherwise collapse under a rigid framework.