Fabric> Rubberized Materials
Rubberized material is a term used to describe any flexible, stretchable polymer coated textile or material. The coating on the material may be for various reasons including water resistance or waterproofing, or to impart non slip, grip or friction capabilities to the substrate fabric. Material can also be rubberized (have a rubber core) and then laminated on the outside with fabric that stretches and provides a structure to the finished product, like Wetsuit material; originally used for SCUBA diving suits to keep divers comfortable by providing insulation and a warm layer of water between the wearer and the outside water.
Natural rubber comes from the processed sap of the rubber tree which is grown in tropical jungle climates although natural rubber has superior flexibility and stretch characteristics allowing it to stretch many times it's original length and return to it's original shape; however, it has limitations when it comes to durability and weather resistance. Heat treating or vulcanizing the rubber with sculpture compounds makes natural rubber more durable and resistant to rotting, especially in hot humid conditions.
Synthetic rubber or blended rubber is superior in this regard as it is not affected by heat and humidity although it may contain small amounts of natural rubber blended with petroleum products to create a product that is more durable, longer lasting and resistant to chemicals, acids, alkalis and solvents. The trade off for the increased durability is often a sacrifice of flexibility and stretch ratio. Natural rubber can be made to stretch much more than synthetic rubber; however, recent advances in chemical formulations for synthetic rubber have vastly increased the stretch-ability of synthetic rubber to the point where it approaches that of natural rubber.
Specially formulated vinyl is sometimes used as the polymer coating on rubberized materials. The difference between synthetic rubber and vinyl that has been formulated with plasticizers and additives, is difficult to discern just by feeling or handling the material and without lab testing. So to many end users of the material there is little difference between formulated vinyl and rubber.
People often refer to rubberized fabric as
rubberized canvas, but this is a misnomer; canvas in the correct use
of the word refers only to a heavy woven material made from
Technically Elastic and Shock Cord are two more types of rubberized materials we offer for sale, specifically designed to stretch and return to their original sizes or lengths.