Rubber and plastic have become ubiquitous in our lives. We cannot think of our lives without these two all-rounders.
Comparison Table: Rubber vs Plastic
|Meaning||It is an organic material that is obtained from the sap or the latex of the rubber plants.||It is an organic material that has a polymeric structure and is obtained from oil or petroleum.|
|Product||It is a natural product.||It is considered a by-product.|
|Obtained from||It is obtained from the sap of the rubber trees.||It is obtained from oil.|
|Main components||Rubber consists of Iso-propene, organic compounds, water, etc.||Plastic consists of plasticizer, stabilizer, filler, pigments, etc.|
|Deformable||Rubber is deformable.||Plastic is non-deformable.|
|Toxicity||Due to the high water content in rubber, it is said to be highly toxic.||Due to its insolubility, plastic is less toxic as compared to rubber.|
|Elasticity||Rubber is more elastic in nature.||Plastic is less elastic in nature.|
|Synthetic materials||The use of crude oil is used to make synthetic rubber.||The use of natural gas or petroleum leads to the formation of synthetic plastic.|
For centuries, mankind has witnessed the growth of technology. From the discovery of wood to the invention of metals and machinery, we have completed multiple levels and challenges. These changes have affected us in some way or the other. While previously people used pots and leaves as containers, today we have plastic and porcelain containers. The use of new materials has completely changed our lives. Two of these include rubber and plastic, without the use of these hardly anything can be made today.
With a difference in use, properties, and looks, Rubber and Plastic are both very versatile and functional materials. These materials have multiple differences which makes it easy to differentiate them.
One can easily tell by the looks of an object, whether it is made up of rubber or plastic. An element known as polymer plays a role in the creation of rubber and plastic. Polymer is actually a macromolecule that is created from multiple continuance units. Each unit denotes the monomer that is used to form the polymer.
Polymers are of two types: natural polymer and synthetic polymer. While Plastic is a synthetic polymer, Rubber is considered a natural polymer.
Rubber is a polymer with high elasticity. Rubber is acquired from the sap or latex of the rubber plant. It can also be commercially created from natural gases or petroleum oil. This process of making rubber has led to a distinction.
There are two types of rubber namely artificial rubber and natural rubber. The use of rubber is very popular in multiple industries. Physical properties like toughness have led to its inclusion in the manufacturing process of multiple products.
The polymers of natural rubber are mostly made up of isoprene and H2O in a combination with other compounds. The main element out of all the other compounds includes polyisoprene.
The latex or sap of the rubber tree is one of the main sources of natural rubber. The texture of the latex is whitish, sticky, and milky. Using a process, the sap is obtained from the bark of the rubber tree. Rubber is said to be prone to the process of hardening. Because of the presence of the covalent bond in the polymer, rubber is vulcanized.
Vulcanization is the process that includes the formation of chemical bonds within polymer chains with the help of an agent such as sulfur. This process helps to produce rubber that is more hard, firm, durable, and stiffer than natural rubber.
Synthetic rubber on the other hand is commercially created from natural gas or petroleum. The process takes place in chemical plants with the help of petrochemicals. There is a range of products that can be obtained using rubber. Some examples include waterproof garments, balloons, gloves, etc.
Plastic is a polymer material that is highly flexible. With the help of heat and pressure, plastic can be shaped and formed into multiple objects. It is considered an artificial polymer. The physical property of plastic is its flexibility.
In addition to this, plastic is also lightweight. This feature has led to its use in multiple industries. Some other features of plastic include being less dense, allowing electric current to pass through, being transparent, tough, and highly durable.
Plastic polymers are classified under different parameters full stop and physical properties including their chemical structure and the process of synthesis involved helps to determine these parameters. Certain industry necessary plastics include polyethylene, polypropylene, PET, etc.
During the production and manufacturing of these plastics, multiple chemicals are also added to them. Some of which are the stabilizers to provide durability and fillers to enhance the performance.
Based on the consumer’s needs, certain dyes and colors are added to these plastics. These compounds that are added are known as additives. In areas of medicines, drugs, clothing, food packaging, etc, plastic is mostly used.
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Difference Between Rubber and Plastic
Rubber is a polymer that is obtained through a natural process. It is acquired from rubber plants. On the other hand, Plastic is a polymer that is shaped and formed under conditions like heat and pressure.
Rubber is a natural product whereas Plastic is a by-product.
3) Obtained from
Rubber is obtained from the sap of the rubber trees. Plastic is obtained from oil or petroleum.
4) Main components
Rubber consists of materials like Iso-propene, organic compounds, and water. Plastic consists of components like plasticizer, stabilizer, filler, pigments, etc.
Rubber is deformable but Plastic is non-deformable.
Rubber has high amounts of toxic elements in it due to the water content. On the other hand, Plastic has low toxic levels because it is insoluble in water.
Rubber is naturally elastic. Whereas Plastic is less elastic as compared to Rubber.
8) Use of synthetic materials
Rubber is made from crude oil and Plastic is made from natural gas or petroleum. These involve the use of synthetic materials.
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A range of products can be made with the help of plastic and Rubber. These elements have become a part of our daily life. Both these materials are made from polymer. With multiple distinctive properties and chemical structures, it forms an important component of every industry.
Naomi is an educator with 2 decades of experience working with children of all ages. She is a keen observer of the magic and importance of Maths in our daily lives. Follow me on Linkedin