EPiC database - Natural rubber

This material is part of the free Environmental Performance in Construction (EPiC) Database. The EPiC Database contains embodied environmental flow coefficients for 250+ construction materials using a comprehensive hybrid life cycle inventory approach.

Rubber is a highly elastic polymer (elastomer) that can be obtained naturally, or produced synthetically using oil-based production methods. It has a high tensile strength, resistance to fatigue and tearing, abrasion resistance and a high resilience/ability to return to its original shape and size. In addition to this, it has good insulative qualities and adheres well to itself and other materials.

Natural rubber is harvested in the form of latex from the sap of rubber trees, which is refined and converted into rubber. Variations in quality can be observed in natural rubber, due to the geographical area, weather and soil conditions.

In comparison with natural rubber, synthetic rubber is generally tolerant to a broader range of temperatures, is resistant to oil and grease, and ages well against weathering. Natural rubber is favoured for its high performance and low cost, which is not directly tied to the price of petroleum.