We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Synthetic Rubber?

By Benjamin Arie
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Synthetic rubber is created from petroleum and is classified as an artificial elastomer. This means that it is able to be deformed without sustaining damage, and can return to its original shape after being stretched. Man made rubber has many advantages over natural rubber, and is used in many applications due to its superior performance. The use of synthetic rubber is much more prominent than natural rubber in most industrialized nations.

Natural rubber, in contrast to the man made type, is not a product of petroleum but is grown on the Hevea brasiliensis, or rubber tree. Mature rubber trees produce latex, which can be harvested without harming the tree. One of the primary disadvantages of natural rubber is its limited supply.

The demand for rubber sources began to increase rapidly with the invention of automobiles and automobile tires. Many scientists searched for a synthetic alternative during the early 20th century, but it was not until World War Two that synthetic rubber replaced natural sources. The war in the Pacific during this time cut off the United States' supply of rubber from the East Indies. Production of man-made rubber during the 1940s expanded to over 100 times the pre-war levels.

Creating artificial rubber begins with petroleum. Two gases called butadiene and styrene are produced as byproducts during the petroleum refining process. Liquid latex, a basic form of synthetic rubber, is created when butadiene and styrene are properly combined. After liquid latex is allowed to dry, it can be formed into different shapes and used by manufacturing facilities in place of natural rubber.

Synthetic rubber is used in a wide variety of applications. In addition to its importance in car tires, artificial rubber is also commonly used to produce medical equipment, molded parts, and belts for machinery. Many industrial hoses and seals are also created using man-made rubber.

There are several different popular varieties of synthetic rubber. These are usually created by combining chemicals in different quantities during the rubber production process. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is very common, and is able to withstand temperatures between -40 to 212 F (-40 to 100 C). This type of rubber is widely used in tire treads for aircraft and automobiles, and also for conveyor belts and other industrial products.

Isoprene rubber (IR) is able to handle higher temperatures than styrene butadiene rubber. IR has a maximum temperature tolerance of 266 F (130 C). This artificial rubber is often used in products that must resist high heat levels, such as vehicle heating hoses and performance car tires.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon995479 — On May 02, 2016

Is this why some greases eat away rubber? What kind of rubber is then used for cv axles or ball joints as they have to hold in grease without it dissolving it away?

By MissDaphne — On Oct 19, 2011

@Kat919 - Synthetic rubber was one of the first kinds of plastic. It's just a type of plastic. The key defining quality is that it was developed specifically to replace rubber, whereas other kinds of plastic are doing jobs once done by glass, metal, etc.

The European colonizers did some pretty terrible things in Africa in the name of maintaing a rubber supply, so it's pretty good they found an alternative!

By Kat919 — On Oct 19, 2011

If it comes from petroleum instead of trees, wouldn't synthetic rubber be a polymer; that is, isn't is just plastic? Is there a different between plastic and synthetic rubber?

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.