The main difference between natural rubber and synthetic rubber is that natural rubber is a natural biosynthesis polymer obtained from a plant called Hevea brasiliensis, whereas synthetic rubbers are man-made polymers under controlled conditions.
Virgin rubber is made from the milky latex found inside the rubber tree. This latex is made up from a large number of flexible molecular chains. If these chains are linked together to prevent the molecules moving apart, then the rubber can take on its elastic quality. This process is called vulcanisation, and is done by heating the latex with sulphur, the mixture is heated to 150oc and then vulcanised in moulds that are compressed by a hydraulic press.
This process gives increased strength, elasticity and resistance to changes in temperature. It renders the rubber impermeable to gas and resistant to heat, chemical action and abrasion.
Sustainability has being raised on the word wild agenda dramatically in the last few years. Scientists have confirmed what environmental campaigners have being telling us for years; that we cannot carry on as we have being if we want to protect the planet and its resources. This has led to governments bring in new legislation for greener design and construction methods, in particular, in the property sector.
It has to be conceded, that the rubber flooring industry has historically not being the greenest on the market. Rubber is very hardwearing, recyclable and has high insulating properties, but it’s in derived in part from by products of petrochemical processing.
Natural Rubber is produced by bleeding the rubber tree for there latex, to be turned into rubber. Although this does not destroy the tree it is not as environmentally friendly as you may first think. Huge areas of forest have to be cut down; in places like china, to make room for the huge plantations of rubber trees. The tree’s are so sensitive that a frost can wipe them all out, which means replanting again. Turning this come into the finished rubber can also produce large amounts of co2, which of course is just as damaging to the environment, and after all this natural rubber is to soft to produce a durable surface.
Standards for making rubber flooring in the UK are highly commendable as they are in Europe, but unfortunately there is little production in the UK. European manufactures generally take there obligations seriously, but standards are often lower in cheap labour area’s such as India and China.
At the rubber floor store, by ensuring our rubber flooring is produced inside Europe, using recyclable packaging, and offsetting delivery costs, we ensure that our products and as a company, we are being as green as possible.