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Synthetic rubbers

Rubber is a material with many properties, of natural or synthetic origin : elasticity, air, water and noise-proof, resistant to vibration, shock absorbing, resistant to high and low temperatures, resistant to various chemicals, resistant to oils and fuels.
It was at the start of the twentieth century that the era of synthetic rubber started when, in 1926, Faraday showed that elastomers could be manufactured from petroleum. Today, research and development work is looking to produce synthetic elastomers from plant-based resources.

Synthetic rubbers


Not all rubbers have identical properties. Their properties are largely determined by their chemical structures. The performance of a rubber product comes firstly from selecting the right basic rubber.


Synthetic rubber is divided into three main categories :

  • Rubbers for general use : such as IR, for example (synthetic polyisoprene), which has good mechanical characteristics : great elasticity, resistance to abrasion.
  • Special use rubbers : such as ABS, for example (acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene), with good resistance to the oils and fuels used in pipes and the seals for fuels, cylinder coatings, oil resistant soles, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) with good resistance to ageing, used for door and window seals on cars, cables, pipes, etc.
  • Rubbers for highly specialised uses : such as, for example, silicone or polyurethane (PU) ; they are characterised by excellent resistance to heat and chemicals and are used to produce contact lenses, watch bracelets, cooking utensils (cake moulds, etc.). This category can also include thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), combining the characteristics of plastic and rubber.



ABS is renowned for its good resistance to fuels, such as in this fuel supply pipe in a car engine.


To find out more, see bounces, Tomorrow it’s rubber !

Image courtesy of Fotolia / SNCP
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