November 22, 2023 By Rheometer Spares Off

100+ Fun Rubber Facts

Rubber is a fascinating material that has been used for centuries in countless products and industries. From car tyres to elastic bands, rubber is an essential component in modern-day life. But did you know that rubber has a rich history and a variety of fun and interesting facts associated with it? In this article, we will explore over 100 fun rubber facts that you may not have known before. Get ready to expand your knowledge and appreciation for this versatile material!

Scroll through the 100+ facts in the gallery, or explore the table below. New facts added each month! 

001Although native to the Amazon rainforest, the rubber-producing tree hevea brasiliensis is most commonly grown in Southeast Asia.
002Synthetic rubbers are chemically optimised to perform in the most demanding environments
003The Kazakh dandelion and guayule are two of the most promising alternatives to natural rubber.
004In the 1890s, the change from solid to pneumatic bicycle tyres led to the first rubber boom.
005The distinctive crepe rubber sole is an iconic feature of Desert, or Chukka, Boots. The light-coloured rubber is made by rolling out coagulated latex into crinkled sheets.
006Reclaimed rubber involves a devulcanisation process to revert cured rubber to its original form, from which it can be used again.
007Recycled rubber is incorporated into road surfaces to increase flexibility and longevity
008Elastomeric isolators can help shield buildings from seismic vibrations
009It is estimated that up to 30% of microplastics in the ocean are from rubber sources
010Rubber is used in more than 40,000 consumer products worldwide
011Ultra-thin graphene layers can be sprayed onto rubber to enhance its physical properties
012Space exploration could not occur without the refinement and development of specialist synthetic rubbers
013Rubber can be engineered to withstand extreme temperature, pressure, vibrations, chemical contact and friction
014Many acoustic applications take advantage of the acoustic impedance match between rubber and water
015Submarines are coated in rubber "acoustic tiles" to amplify sonar echo via constructive interference
016Sonar bow domes are the largest moulded rubber articles in the world, weighing over 8000kg
017Buildings can be sprayed with elastomers to mitigate the damage caused by blasts and explosions
018High temperatures during takeoff and landing make natural rubber the ideal material for aircraft tyres
019Elastomer fabrics are used for hovercraft skirts that hang to guide the airflow downwards
020The ability of elastomers to store energy makes them ideal materials for sealing purposes
021Rubber can very effectively function as an energy storage device due to its ability to store and quickly return a large energy density
022Inflated natural rubber discs can create enough acceleration to launch submarine torpedos
023In 2020, the US Postal Service ordered more than 730 million rubber bands.
024Rubber is naturally white, and is only made black by the addition of various chemicals, such as carbon black.
025In 2019, China consumed more than 5.5 million tonnes of natural rubber.
026Keds, the iconic rubber-soled canvas shoes, were created by the United States Rubber Company in 1910.
027NASA's work in fuel-related cryogenics helped develop processes for recycling tyres into rubber crumb.
028In Europe there are more than 6000 companies producing rubber goods.
02965% of produced rubber goods are destined for the automotive industry.
030Household appliances, industrial applications and the energy/offshore industry account for 30% of the rubber goods market.
031There is currently no universal substitute for natural rubber that could be used in all its applications.
032More than 20% of natural rubber used in the EU is sourced from Africa.
033Natural rubber is now recognised as a Critical Raw Material by the EU.
034Developed by DuPont in the 1930s, Neoprene was one the first synthetic rubbers to hit the market.
035Purity, inertness and biocompatibility are major considerations when choosing a rubber for medical applications.
036Polymer adhesives are often stronger, more flexible and have greater impact resistance than other forms of adhesive.
037Rubber seals destined for the oil and gas industry are designed to withstand the most extreme conditions
038Polymers are often specified according to temperature, application, media, pressure, size and speed (TAMPSS).
039Used by the indigenous population of South America, Caoutchouc is one of the original words for rubber.
040Each year, recycling prevents more than 100 million tyres heading to landfill.
041Ambient shredding and cryogenic processing are the two primary methods of rubber recycling.
042Crumb rubber is the most common end product of the rubber recycling process.
043Shock absorber cord, such as "bungee" cord, is made from natural rubber strands encased in a braided cover of woven cotton cords.
044Silicone rubbers are a group of plastic rubber materials made from silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon.
045Rubber seals are used to prevent the entrance of dirt, water, or air, and to prevent the loss of fluids, gases, or air.
046Many elastomers can be made electrically conductive, for use in gaskets, touchpads and other electrical simulation devices.
047Supply, weather, consumption, currency exchange, policy changes, crude oil prices and speculative forces all affect the price of natural rubber.
048Rubber has a low modulus of elasticity and is capable of withstanding a deformation of up to 1000%.
049The average annual yield for a latex rubber tree is 19 pounds (8.6 kg).
050Christopher Columbus is credited with "discovering" natural rubber in 1493 while in Haiti.
051Until the turn of the 20th century, the countries of the Amazon basin controlled 90% of the rubber export market.
052Early ‘rubber technologists’ used rubber for shoe soles, coated fabrics and playballs well over 2,000 years ago.
053The Aztec king, Montezuma, was given 16,000 rubber balls as tribute by the local lowland tribes.
054Archaeologists have discovered rubber ball courts in Snake town, south-western USA, dating back to AD 600-900.
055The English chemist, J.B. Priestly, is accredited with naming rubber after his observation that it ‘rubbed’ out pencil marks.
056In the world of rubber, the words vulcanisation, cure and cross-linking are used synonymously.
057Charles Goodyear was a 19th century pioneer who discovered that by combining sulphur and heat, natural rubber could be vulcanised.
058The first commercially successful pneumatic tyre was developed by John Dunlop in England, 1889.
059Since the early 20th century, carbon black has been added to natural rubber to significantly increase its mechanical properties.
060Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) took off as the primary alternative to natural rubber following the outbreak of the Second World War.
061Polyisoprene, the synthetic analogue of natural rubber, was not successfully commercialised until the 1960s.
062Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) behave like rubber at room temperature but soften like plastic when heated.
063As a renewable resource, natural rubber has an environmental advantage over synthetic elastomers that are derived from petroleum oil-based materials.
064The French word for rubber, ‘caoutchouc’, is derived from the South American Indian word meaning ‘weeping wood’.
065To make a rubber product, the primary raw material, a polymer, is mixed with chemicals to form a rubber ‘compound’, which is subsequently vulcanised.
066The nature of the raw gum elastomer is the main driving force behind the material properties of the final rubber compound.
067Compared to the wealth of information available for metals, there is little mechanical engineering data for most rubber compounds.
068In determining temperature limits for rubber compounds, it is necessary to describe whether the exposure is short-term or continuous.
069The chemical resistance of rubber depends upon both the concentration and temperature of the chemical encountered.
070For most elastomers, degradation speeds up with temperature. For example, ozone resistance will decrease as the temperature rises.
071Rubber resilience is the ratio of energy input to energy output in a rapid, or instantaneous, full recovery of a deformed sample.
072The addition of carbon black to natural rubber improves both UV and ozone resistance.
073Chemicals, concentration, temperature, mechanical stress and strain, time duration and compound variables are often not independent and can interact.
074With mixed economic and commercial success, Dandelion, poinsettia and the Mexican shrub Guayule are potential alternative sources of natural rubber.
075Rubber tree latex is a blend of water, polyisoprene and small amounts of proteins and carbohydrates.
076Coagulated with formic acid, the latex coagulum is squeezed between two rollers, dried and baled.
077Natural rubber, polyisoprene, is graded in relation to its dirt content and method of production.
078Storage hardening is a cross-linking phenomenon whereby the viscosity of an elastomer increases, or hardens, during storage.
079High mechanical strength, excellent elasticity, good abrasion resistance, good dynamic mechanical properties and low relative cost make natural rubber an attractive choice.
080UV light and ozone are the weather elements of most concern to rubber technologists.
081Synthetic polyisoprene has more consistent curing rates and processing characteristics than natural polyisoprene.
082As a raw gum elastomer, natural rubber has poor weather resistance. This can be significantly improved with the addition of carbon black.
083The many subgroups of SBR are classified by the ratio of styrene to butadiene, and by the method of synthesis of the polymer.
084Silicone rubbers are among the best elastomers for both high and low temperature resistance.
085Radiation, zero atmosphere and below glass-transition temperatures are unique challenges that elastomers face in space-based applications.
086The term phr (parts per hundred rubber) is defined as parts by weight of ingredient per 100 parts of raw gum elastomer.
087Rubber compound formulation is often a compromise between properties, processing, requirements and cost.
088The good dynamic mechanical properties of natural rubber make it a good choice for tyres, rubber springs and vibration mounts.
089Used tyres can be ground into rubber crumb, which can be used as a compounding ingredient to expel air during the rubber moulding process.
090Ozone attack is of most concern to applications where thin rubber products are subjected to regular stretching.
091Raw elastomers are offered in various grades, most commonly according to the viscosity of the polymer.
092To design a perfect compound, a rubber technologist must understand both the end application and the processing machinery.
093Apart from natural rubber, most elastomers are derived from petroleum oil.
094Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) accounts for over 50% of all synthetic rubber produced.
095Cross-linking agents, accelerators, antioxidants, fillers and plasticisers are all added to raw gum elastomers in a typical compound formulation.
096A cost-effective rubber has reasonable production costs without compromising any important mechanical or chemical properties.
097The electrical resistance of natural rubber is very good although, like all elastomers, it is dependent on compounding.
098Chemical resistance is classed as the exposure or damage from environmental factors like UV radiation, extreme temperatures and moisture.
099The viscosity of unvulcanised rubber is measured on a Mooney Viscometer and expressed using its own empirical scale, Mooney Units (MU).
100Rubber is a such a vital material for countless consumer and industrial applications that the EU consider it a critical raw material.
101Elasticity describes how rubber stretches and deforms under stress, and then return to its original shape when the stress is removed.
102SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber), which accounts for 50% of all synthetic rubber production, both complements and competes with natural rubber.
103Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy uses the infrared absorption spectrum of a rubber sample to determine the base polymer.
104CR, or chloroprene rubber, is more popularly known as Neoprene.
105Ozone is a toxic gas that attacks any polymer with a double-chain structure, causing crack propagation that worsens over time.
106Green strength describes the strength of rubber in its uncured state.
107Vibration attenuation analysis is used to measure the effectiveness of rubber damping.
108High durability means that a rubber compound can withstand wear and tear over a long period of time without losing its physical properties.
109Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) is a combined analytical technique that is currently regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for substance identification.
110For any compound formula, the raw gum elastomer always has 100 parts by weight.
111High strength and good resilience make natural rubber a suitable choice for fine particle impact applications.
112Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) remains a key issue in the use of recycled rubber.
113The consistency of a rubber compound is dependent upon changes in the molecular architecture during and after curing
114Over-mixing a raw gum elastomers can result in a lower uncured viscosity and lower cured modulus.
115A Dispergrader is light reflecting microscope that is used to determine the dispersion of fillers within the rubber mix.
116Waste rice husks are source of natural silica that can be used as an sustainable filler in a rubber compound
117Good adhesion means that rubber bonds well with other materials when used in a composite structure.
118The damping properties of rubber make it a good choice for sound insulation and vibration control.
119A raw elastomer with high green strength, the measure of elongation in the uncured state, can aid mill-mixing processing.
120The specific gravity, or specific density, of a rubber sample is the ratio of the material density to a reference density, most commonly water.
121Rubber can be mixed on a two-roll mill, with each roll rotating at a different speed to induce a frictional shearing force at the nip.
122Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) is a combined analytical technique that is currently regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for substance identification.
123Organic waste materials, such as coffee grounds and walnut shells, are a sustainable choice of filler in rubber compounding
124In a rubber, adequate hardness is the right balance of hardness and flexibility, depending on the application and its intended environment.
125Aloe vera can act as sustainable alternative to formic acid in the coagulation of field latex
126The area of material overflow around a rubber mould is called flash.
127Toxic chemicals in rubber tyre dust can spread as far as 150m from the roadside
128The Time-Temperature Superposition Principle (TTPS) uses the measured temperature-frequency effects of a viscoelastic material to construct a master curve.
129The leeching of toxic chemicals and metals from ground tyre rubber is an ongoing public health concern
130Metal oxides are mixed with rubber to provide radiation shiedling from ionising radition sources such as gamma and x-rays
131In mixing, rubber must first be masticated to reduce the viscosity and achieve coherence.
132The friction ratio is the difference in speed between each roll on a two roll-mill mixing setup.
133The reversible covalent bonds in some polymers give rise to self-healing properties
134Rubber mixing machines use both distributive and dispersive mixing techniques to break down and mix materials together.
135The Banbury internal mixing machine was invented by the English scientist and engineer, Fernley Banbury, in 1916.
136Antimicrobial rubbers contain active agents that prevent the growth of bacteria within a material
137Preforms, billets or load weights are small, roughly-shaped pieces of uncured compound that are placed into a rubber mould.
138Pre-mixed elastomers without vulcanisation agents are often called a first stage mix or masterbatch.
139Bacteria and fungi, such as E.coli, can be used to degrade natural rubber.
140Good abrasion resistance and low relative cost make natural rubber an attractive choice for slurry pump liners, impellers and tank linings.
141Raw gum elastomers are often blended together to gain the right combination of specific material properties.