When choosing a rubber product, you want to make an informed decision. It can seem daunting to many, but rubber—as a subject of inquiry—is actually quite accessible. In this article, we’ll discuss the various properties and applications of solid rubber. But first, what is solid rubber?
What Is Solid Rubber?
Solid rubber is typically rubber that isn’t made in the form of foam. Solid rubber lacks the interior network of air pockets that defines foam rubber. The world’s industries demand a variety of tools that match their idiosyncratic situations. Thus, rubber sheet manufacturing has evolved to accommodate these various demands. This change has come in a few ways—but one of the main ones is that there are now many forms of rubber available. One such form of rubber is solid rubber, which is desired for applications where there are high levels of abrasion and stress, or where resistance to permanent indentation is important. You can think of solid rubber roll material as a contrast to cellular or sponge rubber. Hard rubber sheets can be used in many applications since solid rubber can be made from a host of different materials—each one bearing its own defining qualities. A simple sheet of rolled rubber is highly versatile, meeting the requirements of many applications alone. To make things clearer, let’s investigate the properties and applications of solid rubber:
Durometer: Perhaps the most important measurement of elastomeric products is their durometer. Simply put, a material’s durometer is its degree of resistance to permanent indentation. In this type of measurement, the industry’s standard unit of measurement is the Shore. A material with a high durometer is harder to compress, and a material with a low durometer is easier to compress. Solid rubber sheets with high durometers include hard rubber sheets made from a hardened elastomer. Essentially, any time an external force is applied, a material with a high durometer measurement is going to be able to resistant changes fairly easily.
Hardness: In contrast to durometer, a material’s hardness is how elastic it is. The harder a material is, the less elastic it is. Hardness can also refer to how difficult a material is to cut, as well as the way in which the material reacts to rapid applications of forces.
Density: For the most part, when a material is stiff, it’s likely to be denser. A dense sheet of rolled rubber resists abrasion, indentation, rupture, and other stresses more successfully than less-dense elastomers. Generally, this means that the material is more durable and, thus, can be used in higher-stress applications.
Rigidness: An object’s rigidness refers to its ability to maintain its original shape even after it’s been flexed. Rubber is a great example of the ideal level of rigidness since rubber returns to its original shape after it’s been stretched.
Force Distribution: When a force is applied to a material, how does that material respond? Will it disperse the force equally over its surface? Or will it repel such force completely? Soft rubber is more likely to distribute force evenly, while harder materials likely won’t. Even though solid rubber sounds like it wouldn’t distribute force evenly, solid rubber still maintains a degree of softness that effectively distributes force.
Sound Absorption: While solid rubber is fantastic in many respects, it isn’t as effective as a material like foam rubber is at absorbing sound. A foam rubber roll material is more likely to dampen sound since its structure is porous, intaking then dissipating the force from vibrations.
What Are the Applications of Solid Rubber?
Now that you know the properties of solid rubber, let’s talk about its applications:
Shock-absorbent flooring, such as surfacing to protect subfloors from heavy equipment
Seals and gaskets in high-stress applications—rubber seal sheets are capable of expanding without tearing in response to pressure from within a container, making solid rubber a great material for seals and gaskets
Cushion pads, such as anti-fatigue mats—solid rubber is soft enough to reduce the amount of strain that prolonged standing causes the body, but it’s also firm enough to properly support healthy body posture.
Anti-vibration matting—rubber (solid) works great as anti-vibration matting because its elastic, stretching in response to the rumbling of equipment.
Hard rubber sheets and a roll of rubber—these are general products that are highly versatile. They can be used for a number of applications, such as:
Mounts for metalworking (i.e. removing dents, straightening out bends)
Hammering or filing objects while preventing scratching
Hardening wire or sheet metal
What Is Solid Rubber Made Of?
Typically, solid rubber is made of dense rubber materials such as Neoprene, EPDM, SBR, or silicone. Solid rubber can also be made of recycled or reclaimed rubber, which is the preferred rubber material for environmentally-conscious companies. These varied rubber materials are usually what is solid rubber made of. Now, when looking for solid rubber for your next project, you’ll know which properties are most important to the success of your project. As we’ve said—with just a little research, rubber has suddenly become a material you’re very comfortable using. Its qualities are generally excellent for most applications. Perhaps you’ll use a 1-inch-thick rubber sheet, a red rubber sheet, or a rubber sheet (thin) for mounting, padding, or protection. We hope you’ve gained the basic knowledge needed for your next project. Remember rubber’s properties, for they are sure to come in handy.