Natural rubber is produced from the latex collected from within the rubber tree. In 1879 a method for developing synthetic rubber was developed. Today, synthetic rubber, which is derived from petroleum, makes up more than 50% of the rubber production. Both synthetic and natural rubber have many important uses in many different industries.
Uses of rubber
- The largest use of both synthetic and natural rubber, 56% of all rubber production, is for creating tires and inner tubes for automobiles and other vehicles.
- Almost all of the remaining rubber is used by the general rubber goods industry. They produce all kinds of products made from rubber. Some of the industries that use the largest amounts of rubber each year produce products such as; rubber gloves, balloons, matting, flooring, hoses, belts, antivibration mounts in vehicles, adhesives, rubber bands and pencil erasers.
- Rubber can also be produced as a fiber, which is commonly known as elastic. This is very important to the textile industry. Rubber yarn, today made from synthetic rubber, is used to create tight fitting garments, with some stretch, such as wetsuits, swimsuits, cycling shorts, ski pants, lingerie and many more.
Did you know?
Rubber was first created by the Olmecs, an ancient civilization from Mexico. They boiled the latex from the rubber tree to create a ball for sport.
Over 20 million tons of rubber are produced each year. The main source of natural rubber is from the Asian countries Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.