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Rubber vs. Elastomer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 2, 2023
Rubber is a natural polymer, whereas elastomer is a broader term for materials with rubber-like elasticity.

Key Differences

Rubber is a specific natural material known for its elasticity and waterproof qualities. Derived from the latex of rubber trees, it has been essential in many industries for its natural stretchable properties. Elastomers are a category of polymers that include rubber and synthetic materials with similar elastic properties. All rubbers are elastomers, but not all elastomers are rubber.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
Rubber is frequently used in its natural form but can also be synthetically produced, emulating the properties of natural rubber. The term 'elastomer' encompasses all these materials, highlighting the property of significant elasticity after deformation. It is the technical term used in polymer science, indicating a broader spectrum of materials than just natural or synthetic rubber.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
In practical applications, rubber often refers to materials used in tires, footwear, and gaskets. Elastomers are considered in a wider context, including silicone, neoprene, and other rubber-like synthetics that serve in a wider range of applications, such as in biomedical devices or as sealants in a variety of industries.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
Rubber has a rich history, particularly associated with the rise of the automobile industry where it has been used in tires. Elastomers have been developed more recently, with advancements in polymer chemistry that allow for a vast range of properties and uses beyond what natural rubber could offer.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
While rubber is sometimes colloquially used to describe various flexible materials, from an engineering standpoint, the distinction is important. Elastomers represent a broad class of materials with the common characteristic of high elasticity, while rubber is a subset within this class, either natural or synthetic with specific chemical compositions.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Source

Primarily natural, from latex; can be synthetic.
Includes all materials with rubber-like properties.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Composition

Isoprene as primary constituent.
Wide range, including silicones, polyurethanes, etc.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Terminology Usage

Often refers to natural product.
Technical term used in material sciences.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Variety

Limited to natural and some synthetic types.
Encompasses a broad range of synthetic materials.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Elasticity

Naturally elastic.
Defined by the property of elasticity, not composition.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023
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Rubber and Elastomer Definitions

Rubber

A flexible, elastic material made from the latex of a rubber tree.
Tires are commonly made from rubber.
Huma Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Elastomer

Any polymer that exhibits extreme elasticity.
Silicone is a type of elastomer used in kitchen utensils.
Huma Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Rubber

An object made of rubber for removing pencil marks.
She used a rubber to erase the mistake in her drawing.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

Elastomer

Used in materials to reduce vibration.
Elastomer mounts are used to dampen vibrations in machinery.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Rubber

Garments made from a rubberized fabric to prevent water penetration.
Fishermen wear rubber overalls to stay dry.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 02, 2023

Elastomer

Materials used in the construction of flexible medical tools.
The catheter is made with a medical-grade elastomer.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Rubber

Used as an electrical insulator due to its non-conductive properties.
Rubber gloves are essential for electrical work.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

Elastomer

An elastomer known for maintaining properties under high temperatures.
The gaskets are made of a heat-resistant elastomer.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023

Rubber

A colloquial term for a contraceptive device.
He bought a rubber from the pharmacy.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023

Elastomer

A substance used to seal joints or gaps.
The window seals were made from a durable elastomer.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023

Rubber

A yellowish, amorphous, elastic material, composed almost entirely of an isoprene polymer, obtained from the milky sap or latex of various tropical plants, especially the rubber tree, and vulcanized, pigmented, finished, and modified into products such as electric insulation, elastic bands and belts, tires, and containers. Also called caoutchouc, India rubber.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 05, 2022

Elastomer

Any of various polymers having the elastic properties of natural rubber.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 05, 2022

Rubber

Any of numerous synthetic elastic materials of varying chemical composition with properties similar to those of natural rubber; an elastomer.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 05, 2022

Elastomer

Any polymer having the elastic properties of rubber
Sumera Saeed
Nov 05, 2022

Elastomer

Any of various elastic materials that resemble rubber (resumes its original shape when a deforming force is removed)
Sumera Saeed
Nov 05, 2022

FAQs

Is silicone a rubber or an elastomer?

Silicone is a synthetic elastomer, not classified as natural rubber.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

Are all rubbers considered elastomers?

Yes, all rubbers are a type of elastomer.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Can elastomers be natural?

While elastomers are often synthetic, natural rubber is also an elastomer.
Huma Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

What is the primary use of rubber?

Rubber is primarily used in tires, seals, and as an insulating material.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Are there biodegradable elastomers?

Yes, there are biodegradable elastomers, which are a focus of recent research.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023

Can rubber be recycled?

Rubber can be recycled, though the process can be complex.
Harlon Moss
Nov 02, 2023

Are elastomers always flexible?

Yes, the defining characteristic of elastomers is their flexibility and elasticity.
Sara Rehman
Nov 02, 2023

What's the main component of natural rubber?

The main component of natural rubber is polyisoprene.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

Are elastomers used in aerospace?

Yes, elastomers are used in aerospace for seals and gaskets due to their resilience.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

Can rubber be made synthetically?

Yes, synthetic rubbers are made from petroleum byproducts.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Do elastomers contain plasticizers?

Some elastomers may contain plasticizers to modify their properties.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 02, 2023

What makes elastomers different from plastics?

Elastomers have higher elasticity compared to most plastics, which are usually more rigid.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 02, 2023

Is vulcanized rubber still an elastomer?

Yes, vulcanized rubber is an elastomer that has been chemically treated to improve durability.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 02, 2023

How is rubber harvested?

Rubber is harvested by tapping into the bark of rubber trees to collect the latex.
Sara Rehman
Nov 02, 2023

Is rubber biodegradable?

Natural rubber is biodegradable, but synthetic rubber may not be.
Janet White
Nov 02, 2023

What are thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs)?

TPEs are a class of elastomers that can be repeatedly melted and reshaped.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Can elastomers conduct electricity?

Most elastomers, including rubber, are electrical insulators.
Sara Rehman
Nov 02, 2023

Do all elastomers have the same properties?

No, elastomers can vary widely in properties like temperature resistance and hardness.
Sara Rehman
Nov 02, 2023

What industries use rubber extensively?

The automotive, manufacturing, and footwear industries use rubber extensively.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023

Is latex the same as rubber?

Latex is the natural sap of rubber trees, which is processed to make natural rubber.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 02, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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