Rubber? What Kind?

When people talk about “rubber”, they don’t usually specify what kind. There are many different kinds of rubber, but they all fall into two broad types: natural rubber (latex—grown from plants) and synthetic rubber (made artificially in a chemical plant or laboratory). Commercially, the most important synthetic rubbers are styrene butadiene (SBR), polyacrylics, and polyvinyl acetate (PVA); other kinds include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polychloroprene (better known as neoprene), and various types of polyurethane. Although natural rubber and synthetic rubbers are similar in some ways, they’re made by entirely different processes and chemically quite different.