Natural Rubber vs. EPDM

09 Mar.,2023


Do you need Natural Rubber Sheet solution? Choose us as your partner and we will provide you with a solution that will satisfy you.

Silicone rubber and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) are two ways to achieve results for various manufacturing processes and machinery. Their differences start at the beginning:

  • Silicone rubber is a polymer. It is inorganic and made from hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Its standout feature is that it can remain stable at very high temperatures.
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is a synthetic rubber. It is made from propylene, ethylene, and diene comonomer. Its standout feature is that it is highly resistant to weathering and so can be used for sealing.

The differences start but don’t end there. Let’s dive deeper into why silicone and synthetic rubber materials are used in different ways and what the pros and cons are for each.


All About Rubber Parts and Applications

Rubber parts have long been integral in machinery and equipment. Rubber pieces are standard in all kinds of production processes. This has been a valued material because it has so many uses and applications.

There are three common processes that can be used to create rubber products. These are:

  1. Room Temperature Vulcanization
  2. Liquid Silicone Rubber
  3. High-Temperature Vulcanization

Solids and sponges can be the results of these manufacturing processes.

Rubber parts include things like:

  • Mounts
  • Anti-vibration support
  • Bumpers
  • Bushings

When paired with casters, clamps, hubs, and more, rubber can become a key player in precision equipment.

Injection molded parts made from rubber are an incredibly efficient and effective way to protect machinery and the people who operate machines.


All About Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Materials

EPDM rubber is the “next-gen” material of EPR (ethylene-propylene rubber). This superior product has become standard in many industries, from construction to automotive. It has an outstanding ability to withstand ozone and UV, in addition to other environmental factors.

EPDM rubber is produced continuously using polymerization or sulfur vulcanization. There are some innovative production options that use metallocene catalysts.

EPDM parts include things like:

  • EPDM roofing
  • Tubes
  • Compression parts
  • Weatherstripping
  • Sealants
  • EPDM sheet rubber
  • EPDM membrane

Uses for EPDM include:

  • Expansion joints
  • Electrical insulation
  • Gaskets and seals
  • Liners
  • Waterproofing
  • Weatherproofing

EPDM material (or an EPDM compound) is a versatile and useful item that has broad applications.


Comparing Natural Rubber and EPDM

The key differences in use for natural rubber and EPDM lie in the respective strengths of each material. Here are how they stack up against each other in areas where either may be a viable option:





446°F or up to 518°F for special grades


Susceptibility to Heat

No shrinkage even at high temperatures

Can begin to shrink at temperatures of 212°F

Flame resistance

Extremely high

Moderately high

Cold resistance

Extremely high

Moderately high

Oil resistance

High resistance to oil

Moderate resistance to oil (some swelling could occur after prolonged exposure)

Tear strength

Moderately flexible

Highly flexible (greater durability)


Can crack when exposed to UV and ozone

High durability when exposed to UV and ozone


Stretchy, elongation up to 800% for vacuum membranes

Moderately stretchy, not as high of an elongation potential as rubber


Natural Rubber Uses

Natural rubber is used for almost anything you can imagine. It is a high-performance product that is both durable and stretchable, moldable, and versatile. Its many uses include:

  • Electronics: silicone rubber is used for cable terminations, insulators, engine gaskets, and the parts that transmit energy. It can also be used in lighting systems, including as reflectors, diffusers, lens molds, and more.
  • Medical: healthcare applications for rubber are favored because of their biocompatibility. Rubber is used in everything from respiratory care and masks to baby bottle nipples and catheters.
  • Cookware: rubber is food safe and non-toxic, making it a useful product for use in baking molds, packaging, and even food handling and food safety items.
  • Entertainment: silicone rubber can be made transparent, making it highly useful for sports gear like snorkels, goggles, mouthpieces, and more.


EPDM is valuable in a variety of industries, because of its outstanding resistance to temperature and weather. There is an overlap in the use of natural rubber and EPDM. They have similar properties that make them useful in similar scenarios. EPDM is commonly used in:

  • Construction: weatherproofing and waterproofing, especially on roofs. It is also used as a sealant for garage doors, expansion joints, and as a liner for pools or tanks.
  • HVAC: EPDM is useful with heating/cooling systems and can be used for tubes, seals, gaskets, and insulation.
  • Automotive: EPDM is known to be flexible and resilient. This makes it very useful in cable harnesses, weather stripping, wire harnesses, sealant, brake systems, and more. It can also be used for car bumpers and fender extensions.
  • Industrial: electrical insulation and waterproofing are key uses for EPDM. It can be implemented in water systems with gaskets, hoses, and O-rings and also insulate and connect cables and wires.


Custom Rubber Parts

Whether natural rubber or EPDM is the right choice for an intended application, both materials will be insufficient if there are errors in design or installation. These materials both require expert manufacturing. It’s vital that you find the best product if it’s going to perfectly perform its function.

Sometimes, out-of-the-box solutions are insufficient. RPM is the premier supplier of both standard and custom rubber parts. We provide complete oversight, from manufacturing to implementation, and work with clients to create innovative solutions. Our custom rubber parts have limitless applications. We can make stable and flexible rubber parts that extend the life of your machinery and can fit any size, function, shape, and color scheme you require.


Go here to learn more.

Want more information on Natural Rubber Sheet? Click the link below to contact us.