Originally, rubber is a natural product. It is tapped from the Brazilian Rubber Tree, the Hevea Brasiliensis. By adding soot and a variety of other substances its various properties can be improved and matched to the particular application. As the chemical industry developed, engineers were quick to attempt the synthetic production of rubber and to create compounds partly consisting of natural rubber and added chemical products. As a result, a large number of different types of rubber were developed for various areas of application. These different kinds of rubber can be processed into flexible products with cross-linked stability that are able to withstand major deformation under great stress.
After the stress is removed, the product must recover to its original shape spontaneously and as completely as possible. Rubber stiffness is one hundred to ten thousand times lower than that of normal solids such as metals, stone, and plastics. Jointly, these properties make rubber unique; for that reason, most rubber applications are based on these unique mechanical properties (e.g. shock absorbers). Rubber is often the material of choice because no suitable alternative material is available or because other solutions tend to be more expensive or less reliable. Rubber is an outstanding example of an engineered material; rubber products are commonly used at critical locations in constructions, machines, buildings, etc.
Natural rubber is the type of rubber used most commonly for the manufacture of gloves. This type of rubber is elastic, resistant to wear and to low temperatures. It is used frequently for gaskets in cold water applications.
Para rubber is a soft natural rubber, best known for its excellent wearresistance. Para rubber is frequently used in steel blasting installations and as lining of, for example, containers and silos.
SBR is the oldest and most used synthetic rubber. About 65% of the world production of SBR is used for the production of tyres. Butadiene rubber is a synthetic substitute for natural rubber. SBR is predominantly used as a seal in water and sludge pipes and installations.
Butyl rubber is a gastight type of synthetic rubber. This type of rubber is used especially in inner tubes and gasometers.
Neoprene® is a much used synthetic type of rubber for gaskets. It has moderate oil resistance and good weathering properties.
Ethylene propylene rubber is a synthetic type of rubber with superior resistance to sunlight and weathering. This type of rubber is especially used in roof coverings and hatch packings.
Silicone rubber is a synthetic elastomer. Silicone rubber has a number of excellent properties, making it especially suitable for the manufacture of profiles and molded parts that must meet high requirements in terms of durability and temperature resistance. Silicone rubbers are used in the food industry and the medical field. Silicone rubber is also used frequently in hoses.
Nitrile rubber is a synthetic type of rubber with good resistance to oil, making it a favorite for flange seals against oil and gas, O-rings and hose linings.
ECO is one of the few types of rubber resistant to unleaded petrol. Among other applications, ECO is used for gaskets, valves, and hoses (inner linings).
Viton® has superior chemical properties at high temperatures. It is resistant to many chemicals, sunlight, and oil. FKM is not suited for use in steam.
CSM is an acid-resistant type of rubber used for packings and hose linings.