What Elements Are in Rubber?

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The two most common elements found in natural rubber are carbon and hydrogen. Eighty percent of the world’s natural rubber supply is cultivated from rubber trees that grow in tropical climates such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Rubber tree plantations can yield 30 to 35 grams of rubber per tree in a single day, which is then used in products such as heavy duty tires.

Natural rubber is resistant to abrasion and fatigue. However, it reacts poorly to the weather, oils and fuels. Besides butadiene, natural rubber has the best elasticity of any type of rubber.

Thanks in part to the development of the automobile industry, synthetic rubber was introduced to meet the need for natural rubber. Synthetic rubber contains elements that are products of the petrochemical industry. Styrene-butadiene rubber is the most common synthetic rubber because of how cheap it is to produce. Styrene and butadiene are combined and react to form a compound, which is 25 percent styrene and the rest that is comprised of butadiene. Styrene-butadiene rubber is synthetic rubber with the same properties as natural rubber. This synthetic rubber has a better elasticity than natural rubber. While it is used to create many of the same products as natural rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber is also used to cover different types of hose.