Latex is natural rubber

What is natural latex?

Natural latex

Natural latex, or also Natural rubber called, is obtained from the milk of the rubber tree. Even though 60% of global demand is covered by synthetic rubber today, natural rubber is still used for a wide variety of products such as tires.

The advantages of natural latex mattresses are the high point elasticity, the ecological and sustainable extraction and the high breathability due to thousands of small air chambers.

History of natural latex

The oldest evidence of natural latex can be found in Central America, where rubber was used in earlier times to make hoses, vessels, clothing and toys. With the discovery of America, latex reached Europe, where a solvent for solid rubber was first found in 1761.

At the end of the 18th century there were further inventions made of natural latex, but these were only partially accepted because natural rubber very sticky in the heat and brittle in the cold has been. In 1839 the American Charles Goodyear invented it vulcanizationwho have favourited plastic latex turns into elastic rubber. This invention caused a rubber boom in Central and South America, especially in Brazil, due to the increasing demand.

However, as it soon turned out that the natural conditions in South America are not suitable for growing rubber trees in plantations, the cultivation was relocated to the English colonies in Asia (especially to India) and the rubber boom came to an end.

Latex was also grown in Africa (e.g. in the Congo), whereby the local farmers were exploited by the English colonial rulers. One was created during World War II Latex shortage, whereupon the German Fritz Hofmann the synthetic latex invented, which today still covers around 60 percent of the world's latex demand.

Extraction of natural latex

Natural latex is made possible by the Scoring the rubber tree won. Hence the designation as natural latex or natural rubber. This traditional way of harvesting can be clearly seen in the picture above. The rubber trees are grown on plantations in Asia and Africa. In South and Central America, so-called collective production still occurs in some cases. This means that rubber trees are in Usable reserves may be used for harvesting. This type of natural rubber extraction is significantly more sustainable than cultivation on plantations.

Most of the world's natural latex cultivation takes place in Asia. Especially in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. After Asia, Africa, such as the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, is a major supplier of natural latex. The actual region of origin, namely South America, with Brazil is only in tenth place among natural latex producers.

What is natural latex made of?

Natural latex is made up of various components. For the most part, at around 70 percent, it consists of water and natural latex actually only contains about 30 percent rubber. Natural rubber also contains various Resins, proteins and minerals.

There are various forms of trade in which natural latex is distributed. So it can be in more fluid, in more solid or in Powder form sold.

  • If natural latex is liquid, it has the advantage that it is easier to work with other materials later mixed can be. Even pre-vulcanized, it is given a liquid form, but it is not easy to transport.
  • The solid form is very much easy to store and is chosen quite often as a commercial form. In order to bring natural latex into a solid form, the liquid is first coagulated, whereby the liquid latex is made to coagulate. Then it is washed and dried.
  • The sheet rubber variant is also very popular as a commercial form among latex dealers. The natural latex is coagulated with formic acid or acetic acid and rolled before it is dried and packaged.

Properties of natural rubber

Natural rubber is a naturally renewable raw material. The cultivation and production of natural rubber does not pollute the environment and nature can regenerate itself through new plants. In its capacity as an extremely flexible and pressure-resistant material, the use of natural rubber in mattresses is ideal. The material reacts particularly point-elastic and flexible to body pressure and thus supports an ergonomically correct posture of the spine.

In order to be able to distinguish the quality of natural latex, nationally standardized procedures are used. Something like that TTR (Thai Tested Rubber), SIR (Standard Indonesian Rubber) and SMR (Standard Malaysian Rubber). If you want to buy a mattress made of natural rubber and value fair trade products, you should look out for the Fair Rubber seal of approval.

Natural latex is used in Purnatur mattresses, for example. Organic coconut rubber is also often used and various mattress covers are offered, for example made from virgin sheep's wool.