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How is natural and synthetic rubber produced?

Today more than 90% of the natural rubber supply comes from Southeast Asia. As rubber trees require a hot, damp climate they grow only in the “Rubber Belt,” an equatorial zone that stretches around the world. General purpose synthetic rubber has its origin in two gases: butadiene, a by-product of petroleum refining, and styrene, captured either in the coking process or as a petroleum refining by-product.

Full Answer

There are two types of Rubber. Synthetic, which is used to make products such as EPDM roofing membranes, butyl pond liners and window seals. The second type is natural rubber also known as India rubber. Natural rubber derived from latex is used by many manufacturing companies for the production of a variety of rubber products including shock mounts, gaskets hoses and tubing where carbon black is added to improve its strength. Currently rubber is harvested mainly in the form of latex from certain trees. The latex is a sticky, milky colloid drawn off by making incisions into the bark and collecting the fluid in vessels. The latex then is refined into rubber ready for commercial processing. Natural rubber is used extensively in many applications and products, either alone or in combination with other materials.

Synthetic Rubber

General purpose synthetic rubber has its origin in two gases: butadiene, a by-product of petroleum refining, and styrene, captured either in the coking process or as a petroleum refining by-product. 

Synthetic EPDM

Natural Rubber

Today more than 90% of the natural rubber supply comes from Southeast Asia. As rubber trees require a hot, damp climate they grow only in the “Rubber Belt,” an equatorial zone that stretches around the world

Natural Rubber