How Does Rubber Dominate Metal?

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When it comes to materials, rubber and metal are two of the most commonly used in modern industry. While metal is known for its strength and durability, rubber has unique properties that allow it to dominate in certain applications. In this article, we will explore how rubber differs from metal and why it is so effective in a variety of applications.

The Properties of Rubber

Rubber is a type of polymer that is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. It is an elastic material that can stretch up to seven times its original length without tearing. This elasticity is due to the structure of rubber molecules, which are coiled in a way that allows them to stretch and then snap back into place.

Another property of rubber is its ability to absorb shock and dampen vibrations. This is due to the fact that rubber is a viscoelastic material, which means it can change its shape and flow like a liquid, while still retaining elastic properties. This makes rubber a popular material for shock absorbers, as well as for use in car tires and conveyor belts.

Finally, rubber is a non-conductive material, which means it does not conduct electricity. This makes it an ideal material for use in electrical wiring, as well as in electronic devices and components. In addition, rubber is resistant to water, oils, and other chemicals, which makes it a popular material for gaskets and seals.

The Properties of Metal

Metal is a solid material that is known for its strength and durability. It is a metallic element that can be found in various forms, including iron, copper, aluminum, and titanium. Metals are typically characterized by their high melting points, high ductility, and excellent conductivity.

One of the key properties of metal is its strength and hardness. Metals are often used in applications where hardness and resistance to deformation are important, such as in construction materials, automobile parts, and machine components. Metals are also great conductors of heat and electricity, which makes them ideal for use in electrical wiring, electronic components, and heat exchangers.

Despite their strength and durability, metals have their limitations. For example, metals are typically not as flexible as rubber and tend to be more brittle. This means that they can crack or break when subjected to repeated stresses or impact. In addition, metals are usually quite heavy, which can make them difficult to work with and transport.

How Rubber Dominates Metal

1. Elasticity

One of the biggest advantages that rubber has over metal is its elasticity. Rubber is able to stretch and deform without breaking, which makes it ideal for use in applications that require flexibility and durability. For example, rubber is often used in seals and gaskets, as well as in hoses and tubing, where it needs to be able to bend and flex without leaking or breaking.

2. Damping and Shock Absorption

Another advantage of rubber is its ability to dampen vibrations and absorb shock. This makes it an ideal material for use in machine mounts, as well as in shock absorbers and vibration isolation systems. Rubber is also used in car tires, where it helps to absorb shock and provide a smooth ride.

3. Corrosion Resistance

Unlike metals, rubber is resistant to corrosion and degradation caused by exposure to water, chemicals, and other elements. This makes it a popular material for use in marine applications, as well as in chemical and oil processing plants. Because rubber does not corrode, it can also be used in applications where metal would rust and degrade over time.

4. Weight

Finally, rubber is a lightweight material, which makes it easier to work with and transport than most metals. This is particularly important in applications where weight is a concern, such as in aerospace and automotive industries. Light weight also reduces the cost of transportation which means that rubber is cheaper in prices to other materials like metals

Applications of Rubber vs. Metal

Rubber Applications

Because of its unique properties, rubber is commonly used in a wide range of industrial applications. Some of the most common uses for rubber include:

  • Seals and gaskets
  • Hoses and tubing
  • Machine mounts and vibration isolation systems
  • Car tires
  • Conveyor belts

Metal Applications

Metal is also used in a wide range of industrial applications, particularly in manufacturing and construction. Some of the most common uses for metal include:

  • Construction materials, such as steel beams and roofing panels
  • Automobile parts, including engines and transmissions
  • Electrical wiring and electronic components
  • Heat exchangers and radiators
  • Machinery and tooling components

The Future of Rubber and Metal

While both rubber and metal will continue to play important roles in modern industry, there is no doubt that rubber has certain advantages that make it a popular choice for a wide range of applications. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see new innovations in both rubber and metal, as well as in other materials that can outperform both.


In conclusion, rubber and metal are two important materials used in modern industry. While metal is known for its strength and durability, rubber dominates in certain applications due to its unique properties. Rubber’s elasticity, shock absorption and corrosion resistance make it an ideal material for applications such as seals and gaskets, machines mounts and vibration isolation systems, and car tires, while metal is commonly used for constructions materials, electrical wiring, electronic parts, and machinery components.

Most Common Questions and Answers

  • Is rubber stronger than metal?
    • While rubber is not as strong as metal, it has unique properties such as elasticity and shock absorption, that make it a better choice in certain applications.
  • What are the disadvantages of using metal?
    • Metal is heavier than rubber which can make it difficult to work with and transport. It is also more brittle and susceptible to cracking or breaking when subjected to repetitive stresses or impact.
  • Is rubber better than metal for use in car tires?
    • Yes, rubber is a better material for use in car tires because of its ability to absorb shock and provide a smooth ride. Metal tires would break and wear out more easily because of the way they deform less and become brittle.
  • Can rubber be used in applications where metal is typically used?
    • Yes, rubber can be used in some applications where metal is typically used, but it depends on the specific application. Rubber has certain advantages over metal, such as its elasticity, shock absorption and resistance to corrosion, which make it a good choice for certain applications in marine and chemical processing industries.
  • What are the properties of metal that make it a popular material in industry?
    • Metal is a strong and durable material that is also a great conductor of heat and electricity. It is commonly used in construction materials, automobile parts, electrical wiring, and machinery components. Metal is also known for its high melting points, high ductility and excellent thermal conductivity.


1. “The Properties and Applications of Rubber.” ScienceDirect, Elsevier B.V., 2001.
2. “Metal Properties and SAE Numbers of Metals: Hardness, Elongation, Yield, Tensile Strength & Fatigue Limit.” Reliance Foundry Co Ltd, 2021.
3. “Why Rubber Is the Best Material for Seals & Gaskets.” Apple Rubber Products, 2016.
4. “Rubber vs. Metal Mounts: Which is Better?” Vibrasystems Inc., 2020.

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