Natural Rubber - this rubber is obtained from a latex sap which is found in the cells of rubber tree bark
Natural Rubber is obtained from a latex sap which is found in the cells of rubber tree bark. Its main attributes are;
- Flexibility and strength – resistant to cutting, tearing and abrasion.
- Water resistance as well as being resistant to some chemicals
- It has excellent tack properties so is able to stick to itself and other materials.
- Temperature tolerance is between -51C to 80C
Where is Natural Rubber Used?
There are numerous applications of Natural Rubber, where a high level of wear and tear is needed. Popular for engineering applications; rollers, anti-vibration mounts, bearings, springs and adhesives. Natural Rubber is also a material of choice in the automotive and aerospace industries due to its strength and is also used in heat resistance – typically used in tyres, extrusions, gaskets, seals and other automotive parts. In addition, because of its adhesive properties Natural Rubber is often the material of choice in construction.
Are there any limits to using Natural Rubber?
Natural Rubber has limited resistance to damage from heat, light and ozone exposure, so broadly speaking is intolerant to extreme weather conditions. In addition, Natural Rubber is intolerant to oil and non-polar solvents.
Natural rubber is made from latex emulsion collected from a tree called Hevea Brasiliensis – which is widely known as the rubber tree. It is planted in very large plantations in tropical countries in Asia, such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. An average rubber tree yields 19 pounds of rubber latex annually. Trees are six years old before “tapping” for rubber begins, where the bark is cut into a V allowing the latex to drip out, collected and processed, and they may be tapped for up to 28 years.
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