Natural Rubber vs. Synthetic Rubber

What's the Difference?

Natural rubber is derived from the latex sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree, while synthetic rubber is artificially produced through chemical processes. Natural rubber has excellent elasticity, high tensile strength, and good resistance to wear and tear, making it suitable for various applications such as tires, conveyor belts, and seals. On the other hand, synthetic rubber can be tailored to possess specific properties, such as resistance to heat, chemicals, and aging, making it more versatile than natural rubber. Additionally, synthetic rubber is less susceptible to weathering and can be produced in larger quantities, making it more cost-effective. However, natural rubber is considered more environmentally friendly as it is a renewable resource, whereas synthetic rubber relies on petroleum-based raw materials.


AttributeNatural RubberSynthetic Rubber
ElasticityHighVariable (depends on type)
OriginDerived from latex of rubber treesManufactured from petroleum-based chemicals
CostRelatively lowVaries depending on type and production process
Tensile StrengthHighVaries depending on type
Chemical ResistanceGoodVaries depending on type
Heat ResistanceModerateVaries depending on type
Environmental ImpactCan be sustainable if sourced responsiblyCan have a higher environmental impact due to manufacturing process

Further Detail


Rubber is a versatile material that is used in various industries, from automotive to healthcare. It is known for its elasticity, durability, and resistance to wear and tear. There are two main types of rubber: natural rubber and synthetic rubber. While both types share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of their attributes and production processes.

Attributes of Natural Rubber

Natural rubber, also known as latex, is derived from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree. It has been used for centuries due to its excellent elasticity and resilience. One of the key attributes of natural rubber is its high tensile strength, which allows it to withstand stretching and pulling forces without breaking. This makes it ideal for applications that require flexibility, such as tires and rubber bands.

In addition to its strength, natural rubber also exhibits exceptional tear resistance. It can withstand the formation of small cracks and tears, preventing them from spreading and causing further damage. This attribute is particularly important in applications where the rubber is subjected to frequent stress and strain, such as conveyor belts and seals.

Another advantage of natural rubber is its excellent adhesion properties. It has a strong affinity for various materials, allowing it to bond well with metals, fabrics, and other rubber surfaces. This makes it suitable for applications that require strong bonding, such as shoe soles and adhesive tapes.

However, natural rubber also has some limitations. It is susceptible to degradation when exposed to sunlight, heat, and certain chemicals. This can lead to a decrease in its mechanical properties and overall performance. Additionally, natural rubber is a limited resource, and its production is dependent on the availability of rubber trees, making it vulnerable to price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions.

Attributes of Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber, as the name suggests, is artificially produced through chemical processes. It is designed to mimic the properties of natural rubber while offering additional advantages. One of the key attributes of synthetic rubber is its enhanced resistance to environmental factors. Unlike natural rubber, synthetic rubber is more resistant to sunlight, heat, and chemicals, making it suitable for outdoor applications and harsh environments.

Another advantage of synthetic rubber is its versatility. It can be formulated to exhibit specific properties, such as increased oil resistance, flame retardancy, or electrical conductivity. This allows synthetic rubber to be tailored for various specialized applications, including automotive parts, electrical insulation, and protective clothing.

In terms of production, synthetic rubber offers greater consistency and control compared to natural rubber. The manufacturing process allows for precise control over the chemical composition and molecular structure, resulting in rubber with consistent properties and performance. This is particularly important in industries where uniformity and reliability are critical.

However, synthetic rubber also has some drawbacks. It generally has lower resilience and tear resistance compared to natural rubber. This can limit its suitability for applications that require high levels of flexibility and durability. Additionally, the production of synthetic rubber relies on petrochemicals, which are non-renewable resources. This raises concerns about sustainability and environmental impact.


In conclusion, both natural rubber and synthetic rubber have their own unique attributes and advantages. Natural rubber offers excellent elasticity, tear resistance, and adhesion properties, but it is susceptible to degradation and relies on a limited resource. On the other hand, synthetic rubber provides enhanced resistance to environmental factors, versatility, and consistent production, but it may have lower resilience and raise sustainability concerns. The choice between natural rubber and synthetic rubber ultimately depends on the specific requirements of the application and the trade-offs that need to be considered.

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