What is the Difference Between SBR and NBR Rubber

SBR (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber) and NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) are two widely used synthetic rubbers, each with their distinct characteristics and applications. Understanding the differences between SBR and NBR is crucial for selecting the most suitable material for specific industrial or commercial needs.

What is the difference between SBR and NBR rubber? SBR is a synthetic rubber copolymer of styrene and butadiene, while NBR is a synthetic rubber copolymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is SBR Rubber
      – Definition, Features 
2. What is NBR Rubber
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between SBR and NBR Rubber
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between SBR and NBR Rubber
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: SBR and NBR Rubber
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Styrene Butadiene Rubber, SBR, Nitrile Butadiene Rubber, NBR

Difference Between SBR and NBR Rubber - Comparison Summary

What is SBR Rubber

Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) is a synthetic rubber derived from copolymers of styrene and butadiene. This elastomer possesses a unique set of characteristics that make it widely used in various industrial applications. SBR is known for its excellent abrasion resistance, making it a popular choice for manufacturing tyres, conveyor belts, and other rubber products subjected to wear and tear.

One of the key advantages of SBR is its cost-effectiveness compared to natural rubber, making it a preferred choice in many applications. The polymerization of styrene and butadiene creates a versatile material with good tensile strength, flexibility, and resilience. SBR rubber also exhibits good aging resistance and weather ability, ensuring its durability in outdoor applications.

SBR Rubber

Tire manufacturing is a primary application for SBR due to its ability to enhance tread wear resistance and improve traction on road surfaces. The balance of properties in SBR makes it suitable for a range of tyre types, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks. Additionally, SBR is often used in combination with natural rubber to achieve desired performance characteristics in various rubber products.

Beyond the automotive industry, SBR finds utility in the production of conveyor belts, shoe soles, gaskets, and other molded and extruded rubber goods. Its versatility extends to applications where a balance between cost, durability, and performance is crucial.

However, it’s essential to note that SBR may not exhibit the same level of elasticity as natural rubber, and it may have lower heat resistance.

What is NBR Rubber

Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) is a synthetic rubber copolymer of acrylonitrile and butadiene. It is commonly known as Nitrile rubber and is highly valued for its excellent oil resistance, making it a popular choice in various industrial applications.

One of the key features of NBR is its ability to withstand exposure to oils, fuels, and chemicals, making it ideal for use in automotive components, gaskets, seals, and hoses. The high level of oil resistance arises from the presence of acrylonitrile, which forms a hydrophobic structure within the polymer, preventing the penetration of oil molecules.

NBR Rubber

Moreover, NBR exhibits good resistance to heat and has a wide operating temperature range, making it suitable for applications where temperature fluctuations are common. This versatility has led to its widespread use in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and oil and gas.

NBR’s resilience and durability also contribute to its popularity. It maintains its physical properties even in challenging environments, ensuring a long service life for products made from this rubber. Its resistance to abrasion and tearing makes it a reliable choice for dynamic applications, where mechanical stress is prevalent.

Despite its numerous advantages, NBR does have limitations. It may not be as flexible as some other elastomers at low temperatures, and its ozone resistance is moderate. However, these drawbacks are often outweighed by its exceptional oil resistance and overall performance in various demanding conditions.

Similarities Between SBR and NBR Rubber

  1. SBR and NBR are synthetic rubbers derived from petrochemicals.
  2. Both belong to the family of synthetic rubber.
  3. They exhibit good resilience, meaning they can return to their original shape after being deformed.

Difference Between SBR and NBR Rubber


  • SBR is a copolymer of styrene and butadiene, while NBR is a copolymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile.

Oil Resistance

  • NBR generally offers better resistance to oils, fuels, and greases compared to SBR.

Temperature Resistance

  • NBR typically has better resistance to high temperatures compared to SBR. NBR can withstand temperatures ranging from -40°C to 120°C (-40°F to 248°F) depending on the specific formulation, whereas SBR has a typical range from -50°C to 100°C (-58°F to 212°F).

Flexibility and Abrasion Resistance

  • SBR generally offers better flexibility and resilience compared to NBR.

Chemical Resistance

  • NBR exhibits better resistance to chemicals such as acids and bases compared to SBR due to the presence of nitrile groups in its polymer chain.


SBR and NBR are two widely used synthetic rubbers. SBR is a synthetic rubber copolymer of styrene and butadiene, while NBR is a synthetic rubber copolymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile. This is the main difference between SBR and NBR rubber.

FAQ: SBR and NBR Rubber

1. What is SBR rubber used for?

SBR rubber is commonly used in the production of tyres, conveyor belts, shoe soles, and various automotive parts due to its excellent abrasion resistance, resilience, and affordability.

2. What is the disadvantage of SBR rubber?

One of the disadvantages of SBR rubber is its relatively poor resistance to oils and fuels compared to other synthetic rubbers like nitrile rubber (NBR). This limitation can restrict its use in applications where exposure to oils or hydrocarbons is prevalent, such as automotive seals and hoses in contact with oil or fuel.

3. Is SBR a synthetic rubber?

Yes, SBR (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber) is a synthetic rubber. It is produced through the polymerization of styrene and butadiene, both of which are petrochemical-derived monomers.

4. What is the difference between SBR and natural rubber?

Natural rubber is derived from the latex of rubber trees, offering high resilience and tear strength, but it has poor resistance to oils. In contrast, SBR is a synthetic rubber produced from petrochemicals, providing better resistance to abrasion and aging, along with moderate resistance to oils.

5. What are the advantages of SBR over natural rubber?

The advantages of SBR (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber) over natural rubber include better abrasion resistance, lower cost, and improved resistance to aging and weathering. Additionally, SBR offers superior resistance to oils and fuels compared to natural rubber.


1. “Nitrile Rubber.” Britannica Encyclopedia.
2. “Styrene Butadiene Rubber.” Britannica Encyclopedia.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Nitrile Butadiene Rubber” By Klever at Dutch Wikipedia – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “SBRwithexplicitC” By Smokefoot – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

Leave a Reply