The milky latex is extracted from the rubber tree (or hevea). It is the primary source of natural rubber.
In its wild environment in the Amazonia, “Hevea brasiliensis” can reach a height up to 30 meters and a circumference of 1 meter. It is grown in Southeast Asia and Africa, but the main producing plantations are in Asia.
Latex and sap are different. Latex appears in the natural defence mechanisms of the tree: if the plant is injured, latex leaks away and forms a protective barrier, as it dries.
The latex is harvested by making an incision in the bark of the trunk: this is known as rubber tapping.
The latex consist of a suspension of the particles rubber. After processing, we get this wonderful natural material commonly known as natural rubber.
Vulcanization is a chemical process for converting natural rubber into more durable material via the addition of sulphur (or other equivalent curatives or accelerators). Vulcanized materials are less sticky and have superior mechanical properties.