Difference Between Rubber and Latex

Rubber vs Latex

Rubber and latex are both elastomers in which dimensions can be changed largely when stressed, and which can be returned to their original dimensions after the stress is removed. They fall into the category of polymeric materials. Latex items and rubber items can be distinguished by the method of production. In addition, latex and rubber can be differentiated from each other, because latex is the raw material for rubber. So, latex should be identified first.


Latex is defined as a stable colloidal dispersion of a polymeric substance in an aqueous medium. The most common latex is the sap, obtained from the Heveabrasiliensis tree. In latex, there are two systems, namely a dispersion medium and a dispersed phase. In latex, rubber particles are suspended in the aqueous medium. Rubber molecules are present as chains in the structure, and there is free space in between chains. Thus, chains can move freely. So by cross linking the rubber chains, the tensile strength and similar properties can be increased in rubber. The cross linking process is called vulcanization. In latex, it is mixed with compounding agents (i.e. additives added to improve the properties of latex) and pre-vulcanized by heating. The pre-vulcanized latex is shaped and formed, then heated to post- vulcanize. Until the shape is obtained, latex is in the liquid state; therefore, it is possible to make thin films by dipping and casting out of latex. Generally, latex is used to make thin films, but solid items can also be made from latex foam.


Rubber is obtained from latex, which is tapped from trees. The most common tree that is used to produce rubber is Heveabrasiliensis. The molecular structure of natural rubber is cis-1, 4-polyisoprene. Synthetic rubbers are used to produce rubber items. But when considering the term rubber, natural rubber is often taken into consideration. Tapped latex is first diluted and then it is coagulated using an acid. After that, this coagulated latex is compressed in rollers, to remove water. The products are raw rubber sheets. These sheets are taken to produce rubber items. Rubber sheets are mixed with compounding agents, to impart the desired properties of the final product. Compounded rubber is heated to get the finished product. Rubbers are vulcanized, to get the optimum properties. Vulcanized rubber has improved tensile strength and elongation properties, which are suitable for commercial production purposes. In rubber items, vulcanization is carried out during the heating process. Tires are the main product of rubber.

Latex and rubber have a wide range of applications due to their elastic behavior. Both latex and rubber are water proof. Because of that, sealants, gaskets, etc are made of rubber and latex. Gloves, balloons, like thin film items are made of latex while items like tyres are made of rubber.

What is the difference between Rubber and Latex?

• Rubber is obtained from latex, which is tapped from trees.

• The raw material for latex items is the tapped latex; the raw materials for rubber items are the raw rubber sheets.

• Generally, latex items are pre-vulcanized, but rubber items are vulcanized only once.

• Mostly, latex is used to make thin films, but solid items are made of rubber.