Natural Latex Rubber (Latex)
Natural Latex is produced from the Hevea brasiliensis rubber tree. These trees are grown on large plantations, primarily found in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Liberia. Natural Latex is a cloudy, white liquid that is collected by cutting thin strips of bark from the tree and allowing the latex to drop into collecting vessels. The latex is then gathered, poured into containers, and delivered to a processing station where it is strained & concentrated.
The latex is placed into a centrifuge, stabilizers are added, and the latex is centrifuged to remove some of the water & increase the rubber content of the latex. After centrifuging, the material is known as latex concentrate, and contains roughly 60% rubber. Latex is only 100% natural in a liquid state. To take it from a liquid to a usable and solid state, all latex must be vulcanized. Therefore, a mixture of natural rubber (90-95%), zinc oxide (2-3%), fatty acid soaps (1-2%), sulfur (1-2%), and sodium (1-2%) is created which is essential for the vulcanization, foaming, and curing process. The finished core is then washed a minimum of three times to remove residuals that may be left over after curing. The finished product is approximately 98% natural latex rubber. It is known for its hypoallergenic qualities and being resistance to molds, mildews and dust mites. Natural rubber is very soft and elastic. When natural rubber is tapped from a tree it is very dilute, with the rubber content being only about 30%. It must be concentrated before use to above 61.5% solids. Of these solids, 60.0% is rubber, and the remaining 1.5% are compounds unique to natural latex (proteins, phospholipids, carbohydrates, amino acids).