Natural rubber (NR): Natural rubber is obtained from latex, a substance produced naturally by certain plants, such as the rubber tree.

Synthetic rubber (IR):: Part of the elastomer family, this is a product derived from the oil industry. Produced through the polymerisation of various different monomers, synthetic rubbers can also be blended together, giving them a wide range of physical, chemical and mechanical properties.


Elastomer: A material that is part of the polymer family and which has elastic properties, like rubber. It can either be natural or synthetic in its origin. Elastomers vary greatly depending on their composition, which is what gives them specific properties and enables them to fulfil certain tasks.

Standard abbreviations for certain elastomers:

o   IR: Synthetic polyisoprene (Isoprene Rubber)

o   BR: Polybutadiene (Butadiene Rubber)

o   SBR: Styrene-butadiene copolymer (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber)

o   NBR: Acrylonitrile butadiene copolymer (Nitrile-Butadiene Rubber)

o   IIR: Isobutene-Isoprene (Isobutene-Isoprene Rubber)

o   EPDM: Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer

o   CR: Polychloroprene (Chloroprene Rubber)

o   CSM: Chlorosulphonated polyethylene

o   FKM: Fluorocarbon rubber

o   T: Polysulfide (Thiokol)

o   AU/EU: Polyurethane polyester

o   Q: Silicone

o   NR: Natural rubber

o   IR: Synthetic rubber (Synthetic polyisoprene ) (Isoprene Rubber)

For information on the properties of these elastomers, please refer to our table of materials on the “Downloads”.


Extrusion: Process for forming rubber or silicone. Elastomer paste is injected into a piston (or screw) extruder. Once compressed, it then has to go through a channel in the shape of the part to be produced. This process is widely used in the making of profiles, tubes and cords, either in large sizes or cut as needed.


HCR: Silicone with a pasty texture (High Consistency Rubber), more solid than LSR. Ideal for making medium to large parts obtained after calendering, extrusion or compression moulding.


LSR: Liquid silicone (Low Consistency Rubber), ideal for injection moulding. Perfect for small parts, thin parts or complex shapes.


Silicone: Silicone is part of the polymer family. Unlike either natural or synthetic rubber, it doesn’t contain any carbon molecules, but instead is made of molecules of silicon (made from silica) and oxygen.

Stereolithography: Stereolithography is one of two 3D printing techniques used to develop prototypes of your parts. Unlike fused filament fabrication, in which layers of plastic are placed one on top of the other, stereolithography employs the use of a laser, which transforms the liquid resin into hard plastic.


Vulcanisation: Vulcanisation is a chemical process in which raw rubber has a compound (or vulcanisation agent) added to it before being cooked in order to make this elastomer less plastic (and therefore easier to shape) and more elastic. Vulcanised rubber is better able to withstand variations in temperature, friction and wear.