Difference Between Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber

Main Difference – Natural Rubber vs Synthetic Rubber

Natural and synthetic rubbers are two types of polymers with excellent properties that are widely in many industrial and household applications. Each rubber type has its own chemical and physical properties depending on the nature of the monomer and chemical structure of the rubber. 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. More differences between these two types of rubbers will be discussed in this article.

This article discusses,

1. What is Natural Rubber?
     – Synthesis, Structure, Properties, Applications

2. What is Synthetic Rubber?
     – Synthesis, Structure, Properties, Examples

3. What is the difference between Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber?Difference Between Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber - Comparison Summary

What is Natural Rubber

Natural rubber is obtained from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis as an aqueous suspension. It is a natural biosynthesis polymer and is mainly known for its excellent high tensile strength, unlike most of the other polymers. In addition, natural rubber has greater structural regularity, higher green strength and a faster vulcanization rate. Owing to this fast rate of vulcanization, natural rubber has become one of the most important raw materials in many industries including tyres, gloves, rubber carpets, etc. Despite its excellent properties, natural rubber shows very poor resistance to atmospheric oxygen, ozone, oils, and various hydrocarbon solvents. Some more properties of natural rubber include ease of processing, excellent dynamic performance with a low hysteresis loss, good low-temperature properties, ability to bond metal parts, high tear and abrasion resistance, good dynamic performance, low heat buildup during heating and low level of damping.

The monomer of the natural rubber is the cis-1,4-isoprene units. Both latex and dry rubber forms are directly used in many industrial applications. Despite the development of alternative synthetic rubbers with excellent properties, natural rubber still holds 30-40% of market share in world rubber market. Some applications of natural rubber include rubber gaskets, seals, electrical components, hoses and tubes, vibration isolators, drive couplings, shock mounts, etc.

Difference Between Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber

Latex being collected from a tapped rubber tree

What is Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubbers are the man-made rubbers. The raw materials for the production of synthetic rubbers are mainly obtained as the by-products of crude oil production. Either solution or emulsion polymerization techniques are used to synthesise synthetic rubbers. Unlike natural rubber, the properties of these rubbers can be fabricated according to the final requirement by applying various polymer chemistry techniques. For example, we can develop synthetic rubbers with excellent weather, chemical, temperature and solvent resistance.

There are over 20 difference classes of synthetic rubbers with various chemical and physical properties, which satisfy the ultimate product requirements. Some widely using synthetic rubber types include styrene-butadiene copolymer (SBR), nitrile rubber (NBR), neoprene (CR), ethylene-propylene diene monomer (EPDM), silicon rubber, butyl rubber (IIR) etc. Each rubber has its own unique properties. For example, EPDM is more popular for its weather resistivity, while NBR has the highest oil resistance. Usually, when comparing the properties of synthetic rubber with that of natural rubber, synthetic rubbers are more resistant to oil, certain chemicals, oxygen and ozone, weather and also shows resilience over a wider temperature range.

Main Difference - Natural Rubber vs Synthetic Rubber

EPDM rubber

Difference Between Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber


Natural Rubber: Natural rubber is a natural biosynthetic polymer obtained from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis.

Synthetic Rubber: Synthetic rubber is man-made polymers under controlled conditions.


Natural Rubber: Natural rubber, as the name suggests, naturally occurs in the plant cells.

Synthetic Rubber: Synthetic rubber is synthesised from crude oil by-products by using solution or emulsion polymerization techniques.


Natural Rubber: Monomers include cis-1,4-isoprene.

Synthetic Rubber: Monomers are different in each synthetic rubber type.

Polymer Content

Natural Rubber: Polymer content or the quality of the latex vary widely and depends on clone, geographical area, weather, soil type, and non-rubber content of the latex. 

Synthetic Rubber: High-quality rubbers with consistent polymer content can be obtained with very low impurities.

Presence of Antioxidants

Natural Rubber: Antioxidants are naturally present.

Synthetic Rubber: Antioxidants are absent (have to add from outside).


Natural Rubber: The properties of natural rubber are difficult to change.

Synthetic Rubber: The properties of synthetic rubbers can be adjusted to suit the properties of the final application.


Arayapranee, Wanvimon, and Garry L. Rempel. “Effects of Polarity on the Filler-Rubber Interaction and Properties of Silica Filled Grafted Natural Rubber Composites.” Journal of Polymers 2013 (2013): 1-9. Web.
Höfer, Rainer. Sustainable Solutions for Modern Economies. Cambridge, UK: RSC, 2009. Print.
Whelan, Tony. Polymer Technology Dictionary. London: Chapman & Hall, 1994. Print.
Image Courtesy:
“EPDM-Keltan” By Gmhofmann – Own work via
“Mk’s trip Kannur 2012 DSCN2666″ By Manojk – Own work via

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.

Related pages

nutritional value of pulses and cerealsmonocots and dicots seedsdefine alkaline earth metalexample of c4 plantswhat are examples of eubacteriapomelo citrus fruitthe difference between abiotic and biotichow does binary fission occurmetaphor and simile differencespinal or epiduralmeaning of predecessor and successoredt est differencedifference between binary fission and mitosisexamples of chemoautotrophsdefine aniondefine auntywhat is neurosis and psychosiswhat does the word nomadic meanspring roll versus egg rolldifference between baking soda and soda bicarbonatereflecting and refracting telescopes differencesigns and symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemiadifference between rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcoholjudicial separation indiawhat is the difference between a theme and a motifleast count of vernier calliper formulawhat is subject complementembryo fetus differenceverse and stanzamolecular formula sucroseglycolysis and glycogenolysismotorola droid vs iphoneionic vs molecular compoundwhat is difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping creamexplain tyndall effectprejudice vs discrimination definitionosmotic pressure definition biologydifference between monocot and dicotnonvascular vs vascular plantsguanine chemical formulacan producer surplus be negativenoun vs pronounactive v passive transportdifference between colons and semicolonscondo vs townhouse differenceimminent vs eminentwhat does normal boiling point meanwarm blooded cold bloodedbelgian malinois intelligenceaardvark anteaterwhat is bemused meananother word for effecteddifference between antagonist and protagonistwhat does inotation meandha definitioncalzone vs stromboli differencesn1 energy diagramdifference between tornado and cyclone and hurricanewhat is the difference between catabolic and anabolicthe alien and sedition acts were designed to do whatkayaking or canoeing differencedifference between autobiography and memoiralliteration and assonance poemsexample of assimilation psychologyde jure and de facto governmentdifference between covalent bonds and ionic bondswhat are the two main differences between angiosperms and gymnospermswhat is the difference between brandy and cognacimage formed by concave lensbroiling vs bakingwhat is the moral lesson of hansel and gretelstatic flat characterpicture of pomelo fruit