1. What is Sheet Rubber?
Sheet rubber is, essentially, exactly what its name implies: sheets of rubber that can be used for both industrial and commercial purposes. Sheeting rubber products are most often sold in the form of rolls. Our sheet rubber rolls are usually stocked in gauges between 1/32” to 2” in thickness, depending on the specific type of elastomer. Since our sheet rubber is sold in roll form, they can be acquired in custom lengths of up to 25 or 50ft. according to your specifications. This will help ensure that you have the exact amount of material you need for your project. More importantly, however, you should know which type of material to choose from. Here at Rubber-Cal, we have a rubber sheet for almost any application. The various different types of sheet rubber rolls in our inventory include: Natural Gum Rubber, EPDM Rubber, Neoprene Rubber, Nitrile Rubber, Recycled Rubber, and Silicone Rubber. Each type of sheet rubber is unique and well suited for different applications.
1(a). Natural Sheet Rubber
Another form of sheet rubber which we carry at Rubber-Cal is natural gum rubber. Natural gum rubber, in particular, benefits from a superior degree of flexibility. It even has a unique color: rubber sheets made from natural gum rubber come in a range from tan to brown. Natural gum and recycled rubber are not synthetic elastomers. They enjoy the benefit of being eco-friendly rubber products. Natural gum rubber is environmentally friendly because it is made using naturally occurring materials, mainly the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree. There are no industrial or synthetic methods or compounds added to this sheet rubber. This is a premium form of sheet rubber and its superb level of flexibility is complemented by the fact that it is a non-marking rubber and is perfect for a range of uses.
1(b). Synthetic Sheet Rubber Rolls
Sheet rubber rolls made of synthetic rubber may cost a little more, but they provide valuable physical and chemical properties that natural and recycled rubbers lack. SBR, EPDM, Neoprene, Nitrile, and Silicone sheet rubber should be used for the more industrial type of applications that see the presence of oils, chemicals, and temperatures of extreme degrees. Keep in mind that each particular type of synthetic rubber sheet has its own unique properties. For example, sheet rubber made of neoprene may be moderately resistant to outdoor factors such as ozone, but EPDM resists ozone at far superior levels. EPDM is in fact created for superior performance in outdoor applications. SBR is known for being tough and durable and is particularly adept at handling physically abrasive conditions. This is why it is used to create vehicle tires which can stand up to the rigors of the road. SBR sheet rubber retains that high level of toughness, making it a valuable rubber sheet for many applications.
1(c). Eco-Friendly Sheet Rubber Rolls
Gum rubber is environmentally friendly because it is all natural, but recycled rubber, on the other hand, is eco-friendly thanks to the materials that make it. Recycled sheet rubber rolls are made using old rubber harvested mainly from vehicle tires. The method of making recycled rubber sheets actually takes non-biodegradable material out of the environment. This helps consumers by both helping to reduce waste in our ecosystem and ridding our landfills of slow-wasting old tires, as well as by coming at more affordable rates than their synthetic counterparts.
2. What is Sheeting Rubber Used For?
Synthetic and natural sheet rubber rolls can be used for a variety of different applications depending on the conditions of where they will be applied. Both have a naturally high coefficient of friction which will allow them to retain traction even when coming into contact with moisture; however, synthetic rubber will be able to withstand harsher conditions than natural rubber will and is generally recommended for industrial use or in areas that experience heavy wear and tear. Natural and recycled rubber, on the other hand, is generally used for its flexibility, impact absorption and enhanced abrasion resistance.
2(a). Synthetic Sheet Rubber
Synthetic sheet rubber is used for more heavy-duty areas and are generally sought after for their resilience to chemicals and greases/oils. For example, sheet rubber rolls made from EPDM can sit outside and face harsh UV rays and moisture without quickly wearing or cracking. In contrast, sheet rubber rolls made of nitrile is designed for very different usage. Each of these types of sheet rubber are super in different elements, and can cover every need and project. Synthetic rubber materials are also available as different color rubber sheets, with red, gray, and white being the most common.
2(b). EPDM Rubber
EPDM rubber is ideal for exterior applications due to its excellent resilience to harsh weather conditions, UV rays and ozone. EPDM sheet rubber also has a high degree of chemical resistance allowing them to be used in settings where chemicals are being used or stored. Additionally, EPDM rubber is available in two forms: solid and cellular. The main difference between the two being the level of wear and tear each can withstand. Despite different options of EPDM sheet rubber to choose from, both types of EPDM rubber are durable and versatile enough to be used indoors and outdoors and in abrasive conditions.
2(c). Neoprene Rubber
Neoprene, much like EPDM rubber, has two forms it is available in: open cell and closed cell. They can withstand harsh UV rays and ozone as well as resilience to abrasions and chemicals allowing them to be used outdoors and in areas chemicals may be present. Additionally, neoprene is an extremely durable rubber that is difficult to tear which is why they are most commonly used in industrial warehouses. Because of these properties, neoprene rubber is ideally used outdoors and in heavy-duty industrial settings.
2(d). Nitrile Rubber
Nitrile carries outstanding resistance to often harmful substances such as oils and greases. This means that it can be used to create the perfect rubber sheet for settings such as the automotive industry, as well as durable kitchen flooring products. Nitrile might be great in the kitchen, but silicone sheet rubber can comfortably handle temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the ideal choice in a lot of demanding industrial applications.
2(e). Silicone Rubber
Silicone is an extremely durable material and it can be purchased in a number of different durometers depending on how hard you would like your sheet rubber to be. Silicone rubber was made specifically to be able to withstand extreme high and low temperatures. It is also designed to endure chemicals such as acetic acids, sodium sulfate and more. Silicone is also the only form of rubber that has a food safe variety that is FDA approved. These physically and chemical properties of silicone rubber makes them extremely versatile being able to be used residentially as well as industrially.
2(f). Natural Gum Rubber Rolls
Natural and recycled rubber are generally used for padding or as seals. Natural sheet rubber is sought out for its flexibility and is often used as container seals and as padding for floors. Its unique ability to resist some chemicals and alkalis allows them to be used in some industrial settings where mild chemicals are being used or stored. Its elasticity allows natural rubber to be cushiony enough to provide comfort for any hard surface without leaving residue.
2(g). Recycled Sheet Rubber
Recycled sheet rubber rolls are slightly more durable and is generally used for applications such as gym flooring or playground flooring. Thanks to the tire material it is made from, recycled rubber’s unique ability to resist abrasions allows it to be used in areas that receive heavy wear and tear. Additionally, due to recycled rubber’s tire composition, it is more durable and resistant to harsh outdoor conditions allowing it to be used interchangeably indoors and outdoors.
As you can see, our inventory of sheet rubber provides you with many options. Sheet rubber is often the unsung hero of many products and industries, but it is a vital one nonetheless. If you have a need for natural, recycled, or synthetic sheet rubber rolls, then consider the various options available. Provide us with your specifications and we will fabricate parts out of your sheet rubber. Or if you simply want a standard roll, we are happy to provide it for you. If you need a rubber sheet for an important project, chances are that we will have the right one for you!