For several decades, natural rubber was the preferred choice of material for an array of industrial and medical applications owing to its high tensile strength, low price, tear resistance, etc. However, a few substances found in natural rubber such as protein and protein derivatives caused irritation and allergies: a major cause of concern for the medical and industrial workforce. Thus, the demand for products made from alternative materials was on the rise and synthetic polyisoprene rubber emerged as an ideal substitute.
For nearly a century, polymer chemists were trying to find a material similar to natural rubber without compromising on the properties. Researchers had identified isoprene as the building block for natural rubbers. However, after several failed attempts to synthesize a material that exhibited similar properties of natural rubber, synthetic polyisoprene was discovered.
Synthetic Rubbers Are Here to Stay
In the current scenario, synthetic polyisoprene rubber finds applications in an array of applications that require low water swell, enhanced gum tensile strength, high tensile strength and more. In addition, several gum compounds from synthetic polyisoprene are used to manufacture rubber bands, baby bottle nipples, etc. The increasing concerns over allergic reactions from proteins found in natural rubber encouraged the adoption of synthetic polyisoprene.
The advent of new processing technologies have gained significant amount of popularity in recent years. At present, as industrial policies lay emphasis on enhancing workforce safety, there is a growing demand for gloves made from synthetic polyisoprene rubber from several industrial domains including, construction, mining, oil & gas and chemical. Apart from being a safer material compared to natural rubber, several other factors are playing a key role in boosting sales of synthetic gloves including, improved consistency, low impurity levels, low costs, etc.
Consumers Demand For Non-latex Condoms
In the last couple of decades, awareness regarding the hazardous effects of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has gained significant momentum. Thus, the demand for condoms, particularly made from synthetic polyisoprene rubber witnessed a noteworthy growth.
In the current scenario, several global trends have influenced industrial operations. The growing concerns over workforce safety in both, the developed and developing regions has created new avenues for the applications of synthetic rubber in the industrial and medical sectors of the aforementioned regions.
Evolving consumer trends and demands have created bottlenecks for rubber manufacturers in recent years. For instance, consumer preference for safe yet convenient medical stoppers comfortable, durable shoe soles that are fashionable at the same time etc. Thus, there is a growing pressure on manufacturers to look for raw materials that can overcome these barriers.
In a nutshell, the demand for safer and allergy-free medical gloves will boost the prospects of synthetic polyisoprene in the coming years. Further, increasing awareness regarding STDs and demand for non-latex condoms are some of the other applications that will find high adoption of synthetic rubber. With evolving technology and added research in the field of rubber, it is safe to assume that there will be a significant growth in the applications of synthetic rubber in the coming years.
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