Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Liquid rubber is a variety of synthetic rubber which is supplied in liquid form. When the rubber is utilized, it cures, hardening and holding a desired shape. There are a number of applications for this product, ranging from injection molded toys to roof sealants.
One of the most common uses for liquid rubber is in the creation of rubber molds. Rubber is a a popular choice of material for mold making because it will not stick to the material being molded, and it is easy to remove the mold once the material has set. Liquified rubber can be sprayed or painted onto something to create a cast, and the resulting cast can be used to make numerous molds of the object.
Crafters utilize liquid rubber to make molds, and it is also used by people like conservators restoring works of art, companies which wish to make molds of real-world objects like sculptures for sale, and companies which manufacture moldings and fittings. Specialized types of liquid rubber can be used for sensitive projects such as art restorations with very fragile sculptures. This substance can also itself be cast to make rubber objects such as flexible rubber toys for children and various rubber fittings.
This product can also be used as an adhesive, creating a tight seal when applied properly. Liquid rubbers are also used to create coatings on various materials, in caulking and weatherproofing, and in the production of medical devices and implants. In the case of medical devices, medical-grade silicone rubber is used to create durable, non-reactive items which will be safe for use in hospitals and operating rooms. Silicone rubber can be used for tasks like making dental molds, creating flexible medical implants, and developing specialized medical equipment.
Many liquid rubbers can be dyed with the use of coloring agents, coming in a neutral shade which people can adjust for needs and taste. For example, companies which make movie prosthetics can use rubber that has been dyed to match an actor's skin tone to create various prosthetics which will blend in with the actor's real skin on screen. Different liquid rubbers have slightly different curing times, and may need to be mixed with catalysts to trigger the curing process. In all cases, full directions are available on the packaging for the product.
@jennythelib - Synthetic rubber has the properties of rubber, mostly its elasticity. It can substitute for rubber, whereas ordinary plastic just can't. It comes from the same material as plastic, but is processed differently. And that's about all I know - maybe someone with a chemistry background can fill us in a little better!
Now that plastic is everywhere, it's hard to image that rubber was once of critical importance. European's need for rubber was a big factor in the colonization of Africa and the resulting disruption (which continues today, of course). Believe it or not, I remember learning about that in an English class! (We were discussing colonialism.)
This may seem like a dumb question, but wouldn't synthetic rubber just be plastic? I mean, rubber comes from trees, right? And plastic comes from petroleum?
(The article also mentions that it can be made of silicon, which is its own element, of course - then it seems like it would just be silicon. Not sure how it becomes "synthetic rubber.")
So how is synthetic rubber different from just ordinary plastic?
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!