What Are the Properties of Rubber?

Bill Ebbesen (via Duncan Hull)/CC-BY 2.0

The most common properties of rubber are its elasticity, resistance to water and its use as an electrical insulator. When raw rubber is heated, it becomes sticky, and when it is in colder temperatures, it tends to break, just like the synthetic variety.

Rubber is quite stretchy, as indicated by the nature of rubber bands. Rubber is also water-resistant and is used as a seal around waterproof cellphone cases. The Hindu explains that wires that are in danger of touching each other are covered with insulated coatings, made from rubber, to prevent short circuits from happening. To enhance the properties of rubber, a process known as vulcanization is done. How It Works states that during the vulcanization process, rubber is treated with sulfur while being heated. The sulfur is important to the process because it enhances the rubber’s elasticity and resistance to the damaging effects of higher or lower temperatures. InfoPlease.com describes how synthetic rubber has greater advantages than natural rubber. Synthetic rubber has a much longer life expectancy, it fares better against the elements and it is more resistant to oils, acids and other chemicals. Unlike synthetic rubber, natural rubber absorbs less heat and is less likely to rip when heated.