What is Natural Rubber?
Natural rubber is a highly elastic and stretchy material that is derived from the sap of rubber trees, which are primarily found in tropical regions. This material is known for its outstanding properties of flexibility, resilience, and durability, making it an essential material in many industries. The chemical structure of natural rubber consists of long chains of organic molecules, primarily isoprene, that are held together by weak bonds. These chains allow natural rubber to be stretched and deformed significantly without breaking and then return to its original shape.
The process of obtaining natural rubber from rubber trees involves tapping the tree's bark to collect the latex sap that oozes out. The collected sap is then processed to remove excess water and other impurities before it is transformed into a solid material through a process called coagulation. This material is then washed and dried, after which it can be processed further into various products, including tires, gloves, gaskets, and other industrial materials.
The natural rubber has been used by humans for thousands of years, with evidence of its use found in ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and the Aztecs. Today, it remains an essential material in many industries due to its unique combination of properties, as well as its renewable and biodegradable nature. Despite the increasing use of synthetic rubber, natural rubber remains a valuable resource, especially for applications where its unique properties cannot be replicated by synthetic alternatives.