There are two types of rubber: natural rubber and synthetic rubber. Around 25 million tonnes of rubber is produced each year, around 40 per cent of which is natural and 60 per cent synthetic.
Natural rubber is produced from the Pará rubber tree, a tree that was originally native to Brazil, but that now grows predominantly in South East Asia. These trees are tapped for their sap, known as latex, by making incisions in the bark and collecting the fluid in vessels. This is then refined into rubber, ready for commercial processing.
Synthetic rubber is any type of artificial elastomer that has been synthesised from petroleum by-products. Elastomers are defined by their ability to be stretched but then return to their previous size without losing their shape.
Properties and qualities
Natural rubber is very elastic, highly durable and waterproof. It is also resistant to tearing and is a good electrical insulator.
How does it feel?
As expected, rubber feels rubbery and gummy.
Rubber can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your rubber product.