Strong and Resilient: How Styrene-Butadiene (SBR) Enhances Rubber Product Performance

Styrene-Butadiene (SBR) is a synthetic rubber made from a copolymer of butadiene and styrene that offers excellent abrasion resistance, crack endurance, and compression set. It has good water resistance and aging properties, making it a cost-effective alternative to natural rubber for many applications.

One of the advantages of SBR is its superior heat-aging properties and abrasion resistance compared to natural rubber. However, it is unsuitable for outdoor applications due to poor resistance to sunlight and ozone. Additionally, SBR exhibits poor chemical resistance compared to other elastomers and becomes swollen and weakened by hydrocarbon oils.

Atmospheric oxygen and ozone attack SBR rubber, leading to oxidation that increases the polymer chains’ interlinking, resulting in hardening with age.

SBR can be manufactured using different processes such as emulsion polymerization or solution polymerization. Emulsion polymerization produces E-SBR which has a higher polydispersity than solution-polymerized S-SBR. Furthermore, E-SBR has lower tensile strength, elongation at tear, Mooney viscosity than S-SBR but higher glass transition temperature.

These differences make them more suited for specific applications such as tire manufacture where S-SBR is favored due to improved wet grip and reduced rolling resistance.

Brief History

Tracing back to the industrial manufacture during World War II and its use in the U.S. Synthetic Rubber Program, the historical timeline of SBR reveals its significance in various industries today. The production of natural rubber was severely limited by Japan’s control over rubber plantations during World War II, which prompted a search for synthetic alternatives. SBR was one such alternative that proved successful and has since become the highest-volume general-purpose synthetic rubber in production.

During this time, Buna S, a brand name for SBR produced through the copolymerization of butadiene and styrene, emerged as a popular option due to its favorable properties compared to other synthetic rubbers. It offered better resistance to heat-aging and abrasion than natural rubber while being more economical. However, it did not perform well in outdoor applications due to poor resistance to sunlight and ozone.

SBR’s role in the U.S. Synthetic Rubber Program was crucial for meeting wartime demands for high-quality tires needed for tanks, planes, and trucks. Its versatility led to further development after WWII with widespread use across many industries today including automotive manufacturing, construction, and adhesives production.

Production and Types

The global SBR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.2% from 2020 to 2027, driven by increasing demand from the automotive industry and rising construction activities in developing countries.

SBR is made through various manufacturing techniques, including emulsion polymerization and solution polymerization. Emulsion-SBR (E-SBR) and Solution-SBR (S-SBR) are the two primary types of SBR used in industrial applications.

E-SBR has a lower Mooney viscosity than S-SBR, which means that it can be processed more easily during manufacture. However, S-SBR has several advantages over E-SBR, such as improved wet grip and reduced rolling resistance when used in tire manufacturing. Additionally, S-SBR has a narrower polydispersity than E-SBR, which results in better control over molecular weight distribution.

Although both types have their unique advantages for specific applications ranging from coated papers to car tires or building applications to lithium-ion battery electrodes; however, due to superior characteristics such as improved wet grip and reduced rolling resistance compared to E-SSR type favored for tire manufacturing purposes.

In conclusion, the production of SBR involves different techniques such as emulsion polymerization and solution polymerization. The properties of E-SBR and S-SBR vary significantly with differences in tensile strength, elongation at tear, Mooney viscosity, glass transition temperature (Tg), and polydispersity index (PDI).

Uses of SBR

SBR is a versatile material that finds extensive use in diverse industrial applications.

In the automotive industry, SBR is used to manufacture car tires due to its superior abrasion resistance and crack endurance properties. It also offered an excellent wet grip and reduced rolling resistance, making it a favored choice for tire manufacturing.

SBR is extensively used in coated papers and gasketed-plate heat exchangers due to its excellent water resistance, aging properties, and cost-effectiveness.

In the food industry, specialized food-grade versions of SBR are used for processing food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics as they are non-toxic, non-allergenic, and non-marking. Moreover, white-colored SBR compounds that meet stringent hygiene requirements concerning color coding standards for different processes are available.

Due to its excellent abrasion resistance properties, SBR is commonly used in shoe manufacturing to make shoe soles and heels. Chewing gum manufacturers use SBR as a base for their products since it can be easily molded into various shapes while retaining flexibility.

Overall, the versatility of SBR makes it an ideal choice for multiple applications across various industries. Its cost-effectiveness compared to natural rubber makes it an attractive option for many businesses seeking high-quality materials at reasonable prices. However, if required, its poor chemical resistance should be considered when choosing this material over other elastomers suitable for such environments.

Comparison between E-SBR and S-SBR

A comparative analysis between E-SBR and S-SBR reveals distinct differences in their material properties. Polydispersity analysis shows that E-SBR has a broader molecular weight distribution than S-SBR, resulting in higher tensile strength and elongation at tear. On the other hand, S-SBR displays lower Mooney viscosity and glass transition temperature due to its narrower molecular weight distribution.

Mechanical properties evaluation also demonstrates the differences between the two types of SBR. E-SBR exhibits superior resilience, abrasion resistance, and impact strength compared to S-SBR. These mechanical properties make it suitable for high-stress applications such as car tires, where durability is critical. In contrast, the low-rolling resistance and wet grip characteristics of S-SBR make it ideal for tire treads.

Manufacturing process optimization plays a vital role in determining which type of SBR is best suited for a particular application. The production cost, availability of raw materials, energy consumption, and environmental impact are important factors that must be considered when selecting E-SBR and S-SBR. Manufacturers must weigh these factors against the specific performance requirements of their products to ensure optimal results.

TRP Polymer Solutions

TRP Polymer Solutions is a global supplier of custom sealing solutions using advanced polymer materials. With over 15 years of experience in the industry and a comprehensive portfolio of products, TRP Polymer Solutions caters to various sectors such as chemical processing, oil & gas, aerospace, nuclear, pharmaceuticals, and medical.

The company prides itself on taking a product from prototype to operation while offering unrivalled performance protection and return on investment (ROI) with its state-of-the-art rubber materials. Custom sealing is one of TRP Polymer Solutions’ specialties. The company provides a product and material development process that ensures the product meets all requirements.

TRP Polymer Solutions can take on any project from start to finish with their expertise in developing custom rubber moldings suitable for various environments. In addition to this, the company also supplies white coloured SBR compounds that are non-toxic, non-marking, and non-allergenic for the food processing environment.

The success of TRP Polymer Solutions lies in its ability to develop products using advanced polymer materials. Through extensive research and development processes, RK Rubber Enterprise Co. has developed rubber materials that offer superior performance compared to traditional elastomers such as natural rubber or neoprene. Their focus on providing quality custom sealing solutions has made them an industry leader in supplying the Philippines with innovative products for specific industries.


The versatile applications of advanced polymer materials in various industries, such as aerospace, nuclear, pharmaceuticals, and medical, highlight the potential for custom sealing solutions to revolutionize product development with superior functionality and durability.

Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) is a general-purpose synthetic rubber with excellent abrasion resistance, crack endurance, and compression set. It is a cost-effective alternative to natural rubber and has similar characteristics but is more economical.

One of the specialized versions of SBR includes food-grade SBR that are non-toxic, non-marking, and non-allergenic. These compounds are suitable for food processing where hygiene standards are critical. However, SBR’s poor chemical resistance makes it unsuitable for many industrial applications involving chemicals or strong acids.

Despite this limitation, SBR finds extensive application in conveyor belts due to its excellent abrasion resistance properties. Conveyor belts in industrial settings require materials that can withstand harsh environments while maintaining structural integrity over long periods. SBR’s unique properties make it an ideal choice for conveyor belts as they offer superior wear resistance at moderate temperatures up to 85°C.

However, when exposed to steam or hydrocarbon oils over time, SBR swells and weakens making it unsuitable for specific applications.


To summarize, SBR has demonstrated its worth as a synthetic rubber substance owing to its affordability, exceptional ability to withstand wear and tear, and resilience against cracking. Its widespread use across diverse sectors including automotive, construction, and food processing is evidence of its adaptability and capacity to enhance performance. The evolution of SBR over time into the most extensively produced general-purpose elastomer is a testament to its enduring significance.

By comparing E-SBR and S-SBR, one can better understand the various SBR varieties and their distinct characteristics. TRP Polymer Solutions has been instrumental in the progress of SBR technology thanks to its dedicated research and development initiatives. As SBR continues to undergo enhancements, it is anticipated that this substance will remain a top pick for numerous applications.

To visualize the impact of SBR on rubber product performance, one could compare it to a sturdy foundation supporting a towering building. Just as a strong foundation supports the weight of a building, so too does SBR enhance the durability and strength of rubber products. Through continued innovation and application, we can expect that SBR will remain an influential material in various industries for years to come.