Rubber is a natural product, produced by plants, and is used in many of the things we use every day! Rubber is a type of polymer. Polymers are certain materials that have atoms that are bonded together in a link pattern. Atoms are the tiny building blocks of all elements. When atoms bond together, like in polymers, they form molecules! The atoms in polymers have chains of atoms that help make polymers flexible, moldable, and strong. They are flexible because the chains of atoms can be twisted or turned in many different shapes, sometimes even when the object is a solid! It is moldable (or easy to twist into different shapes) because when the polymers get hot, they start to separate. When the material cools down, the atoms settle down in chains of atoms again. The chain-like structure of polymers help the material have more strength. The twisted shape allows more atoms to be present. Rubber is a type of sap that comes from rubber trees. The polymer structure of rubber gives it it’s elastic properties. This is why rubber is used in so many flexible things. Some of the rubber you see is synthetic or human-made. This is because we are not able to get as much rubber from rubber trees to meet the need for rubber. These synthetic materials are more closely related to plastics. That is why rubber is so flexible!