Latex

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Latex harvesting from a tree
Another photo showing latex harvesting
Clothing made of latex

Latex, also known as rubber, is a natural polymer. It is taken from the milky sap of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), native to the tropical forests of Central and South America.

Today, much of the natural latex comes from Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Polymers made from artificial latex are called "synthetic rubber."

Properties

  • Elasticity
  • High mechanical resistance
  • Non-adherent
  • Electrical insulator
  • Chemical resistance
  • Insoluble in organic solvents

Vulcanization makes rubber useful in many products:

  • Tires
  • Shoe soles
  • Flexible tubes
  • Gloves
  • Raincoats
  • Bed mattresses