Tank Linings: Natural Rubber vs Synthetic Rubber

Tank Linings: Natural Rubber vs Synthetic Rubber

From origin to benefits to application, synthetic and natural rubber linings each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In general, a rubber lining is created in the form of a sheet or membrane and forms a barrier between the corrosive commodity and its vessel to guard against chemical attack to extend equipment life.

Choosing the best material for the intended service depends on vessel design and service conditions, such as pressure, temperature, and medium.

Before we discuss details about each type, consider the following:

  • Rubber linings can be categorized as soft or hard.
  • Chemical resistance and temperature limits vary depending on the rubber type
  • In manufacturing, 70% of the rubber used is synthetic
  • Synthetic Rubber Lining

    Synthetic rubber was created during World War II when the United States was cut off from natural rubber sources. Synthetic rubber is produced with petroleum-based materials in a controlled environment. One major difference between natural rubber vs synthetic rubber is that there are over 20 types of synthetic rubber, including various grades, but only one type of natural rubber.

    Synthetic Rubber Lining Resistance

    When it comes to resistance, using synthetic rubber has several benefits, including:

  • Long lasting material
  • Superior resistance to heat and aging
  • Flexible at low temperatures
  • Resistant to electricity and chemicals
  • In addition to these benefits, synthetic rubber linings are also easier to produce, which is a huge benefit when compared with natural rubber. Lastly, there are also many variations of synthetic rubber linings, which is helpful for many custom applications.
    Variations of Synthetic Rubber Linings:

  • Chlorprene
  • Butyl
  • Chlorobutyl
  • Nitrile (NBR)
  • EPDM
  • Natural Rubber Lining

    While synthetic rubber is created in a factory, natural rubber is harvested from trees grown on plantations and can never be fully replicated. In addition, natural rubber is more labor intensive to produce than synthetics.

    Benefits of Natural Rubber Lining

    Unlike synthetic rubber, it’s a completely natural product that is ecologically friendly. In addition, natural rubber linings also:

  • Have high tensile strength (can be stretched and return to form easily)
  • High resistance to abrasion
  • Adheres well to itself and other materials
  • Can be used to develop a wide range of compound variations
  • Disadvantages of Natural Rubber Lining

  • Low to moderate resistance to damage from heat, light, ozone, and oil
  • Can degrade rapidly in extreme conditions
  • Brittle in freezing temperatures
  • Blair Rubber offers several natural rubber linings, including soft natural rubber linings and semi-hard & ebonite linings.
  • Similarities Between Natural & Synthetic Rubber Linings

    If you’re still unsure about which rubber lining might work better for you, consider the following similarities. Both types are:

  • Chemically resistant to most fluids like water and weak acids
  • Great insulators, but poor conductors of heat
  • Able to undergo vulcanization
  • Strengthened by sulfur due to their ability to chemically bond
  • Rubber Lining Applications

    As much as synthetic and natural rubber linings vary, there are many applications for both, including:

  • Rubber Linings for Tanks
  • Mining Wear Parts
  • Chemical industry: Storage and process vessels
  • Unvulcanized linings for shop and field use
  • Pre-vulcanized linings primarily for repairs
  • Self-vulcanizing or chemical curing rubber sheets for repair work
  • View our full product line of rubber linings here

    If you have any questions, please contact Blair Rubber so we can provide additional information and discuss our product line.