EPDM and natural rubber differ in the sense that one is a 100% man-made material, whereas the other is a plant-based material that is harvested. EPDM is made of a blend of strengthening chemicals, while natural rubber is made from the latex sap found in rubber trees. These components used in their production give each elastomer its own physical and chemical properties which dictate the uses and applications. Continue reading to discover the differences between EPDM and natural rubber!
EPDM rubber is a synthetic, man-made material that is a blend of polymerized chemical compounds. The difference in their origin produces materials that have varying physical and chemical properties. EPDM is best known for its excellent outdoor resistance properties that allow it to withstand UV rays, ozone, moisture, and oxidation. EPDM is best used outdoors or in industrial applications natural rubber cannot withstand.
Natural rubber, as its name implies, is an organic, plant-based material that is harvested from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis. Natural rubber retains decent chemical and physical properties, such as high tensile strength, low compression set, resistance to some chemicals, high coefficient of friction, and great flexibility. However, unlike EPDM, natural rubber is not as resistant against outdoor damaging factors and will eventually fade in color and degrade if left out in direct sunlight for too long. Due to its weaker properties, natural rubber is best used for light to medium-duty applications and should not be left outdoors.
Although both elastomers can be used as a general-purpose elastomer, EPDM has significantly stronger physical and chemical properties than natural rubber, allowing it to be a more versatile material that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Learn more about the uses and properties of EPDM rubber here: https://www.rubbercal.com/sheet-rubber/what-is-epdm-rubber/