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What are the differences between synthetic rubber and natural rubber ?

What are the differences between synthetic rubber and natural rubber ?

Synthetic rubber and natural rubber have several differences:

1. Source: Synthetic rubber is artificially produced through chemical synthesis using petroleum-based or coal-based raw materials. On the other hand, natural rubber is extracted from the latex of rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) through tapping the tree trunk.

2. Composition: Synthetic rubber is a man-made polymer, typically derived from hydrocarbon compounds like butadiene, styrene, or isoprene. It consists of long-chain polymers composed of repeating units. Natural rubber, on the other hand, is primarily composed of polyisoprene, a natural polymer.

3. Properties: Synthetic rubber can be formulated to have specific properties tailored for different applications. It offers a wide range of characteristics, such as varying hardness, flexibility, resistance to heat, abrasion, and chemicals, depending on the specific formulation. Natural rubber, in its raw form, tends to be soft and flexible but can undergo various processing techniques to modify its properties.

4. Availability: Natural rubber is a finite resource and primarily obtained from rubber tree plantations in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In contrast, synthetic rubber can be produced in large quantities as per demand, reducing dependence on natural rubber.

5. Price and Market: Natural rubber prices can be influenced by unstable factors such as weather conditions, diseases, and political factors affecting rubber-producing regions. Synthetic rubber prices, on the other hand, are typically influenced by petroleum prices and the costs associated with the manufacturing process. The market for synthetic rubber is more stable due to its controlled production.

6. Environmental Impact: The production of synthetic rubber involves the use of petrochemicals and energy-intensive processes, leading to carbon emissions and environmental concerns associated with the petroleum industry. Natural rubber production, while having a lower carbon footprint, can contribute to deforestation if not managed sustainably.

Both synthetic rubber and natural rubber have their own advantages and applications. The choice between them depends on factors such as specific requirements, cost, availability, and sustainability considerations.
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