Uses of Rubber in Building Construction

      Rubber is also known as an elastomer, which is produced as a natural product from rubber trees and also produced by chemical processes. The former is called natural rubber and latter as synthetic rubber.

Rubber is also produced as recycled rubber by recycling it from used worn-out objects like automobile tyres, basically used for making hosepipes and other unimportant items.

Natural Rubber

     The natural rubber is obtained by collecting milk from rubber trees at rubber plantations called latex. The impurities present in it are removed and is coagulated by weak acetic acid. The solid matter is passed through rollers to get creep rubber and processed to get commercial rubber compounds.

Collecting Latex from Rubber tree

The latex can also be preserved without coagulation by additives that can be used for various purposes like paints, rubber gloves, foamed rubber mattresses, etc.

Natural rubbers have high strength, low hysteresis and good resistance to tearing as well as flexure. But, it is easily affected by solvents.

Synthetic Rubber

     Synthetic rubber is mixed with natural rubber to produce different articles of rubber. It is produced to serve various purposes like chemical resistance and available in two types:

Synthetic rubber example - Rubber Mats

General-purpose synthetic rubber - Styrene Butadiene Rubber is mostly preferred synthetic rubber for general purposes.

Special purpose synthetic rubber - Neoprene is an example of synthetic rubber with specific qualities to suit different purposes.

Vulcanization of Rubber

     Rubber is vulcanized to make it stable at all temperatures and to improve the qualities to resist friction, solvents, durability etc. For soft rubber, it is vulcanized with the addition of 1 to 5 per cent of sulphur. For very hard rubber, it is vulcanized with the addition of about 30 per cent of sulphur.

Vulcanization Rubber seals

For making rubber tyres, fillers like carbon black are combined to enhance their rigidity. They are also bolstered with nylon threads or steel wires to make them withstand heavy impact loads and shocks.

Uses of Rubber

The following are the uses of rubber in building construction:

  •  It is used as a polymer mortar to improve its bonding and waterproofing qualities.
  •  It is directly used in concrete for making polymer concrete.
  •  Rubber tiles are used for resilient floors which are made from natural and synthetic rubber as the basic ingredient.
  •  A synthetic rubber Neoprene is widely used for bearings of bridges.

Rubber Sheets

  •  Natural and synthetic is used to make many products used in the building industry like plasticized PVC pipes are made by the addition of rubber.
  •  It is used in many various types of glue-like Fevicol, to add superior adhesion.

Rubber in Cement Mortar and Concrete

Latex or polymer latex adding to cement mortar forms a polymer-modified system which presents

  •  great adhesion,
  •  enhanced tensile,
  •  compressive and flexural strengths,
  •  excellent resistance to penetration of water and
  •  increased resistance to chemicals

Polymer Concrete Channel

Natural rubber can be used in preparing bonding agents, and these bonding agents add to cement for repairing concrete and plastered surfaces.

Synthetic rubber formulations are costly, and the mortar made from this is used only for special situations. Rubber can also be used for making polymer concrete, especially for waterproofing purposes. For more information about Polymer Concrete (Refer to the article: Types of Cement Concretes used in Construction).

Rubber Floors

    Rubber floors are widely used in situations like computer rooms or libraries, where resilient flooring is needed. These floors are noise proof and posses the ability to be compressed and come back to the original shape when the load is removed.

Rubber tile flooring

Rubber tiles are produced in plain colours or mottled to form a resilient, non-slip, quiet flooring of low electric and thermal conductivity.

     Rubber use as a bonding and waterproofing agent in cement plaster as well as in cement concrete is becoming widespread in building construction.


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