An elastomer is a description of any rubbery material composed of long chainlike molecules, or polymers, that are capable of recovering their original shape after being stretched to great extents—hence the name elastomer, from “elastic polymer.” Under normal conditions the long molecules making up an elastomeric material are irregularly coiled. With the application of force, however, the molecules straighten out in the direction in which they are being pulled. Upon release, the molecules spontaneously return to their normal compact, random arrangement. The elastomer with the longest history of use is polyisoprene, the polymer constituent of natural rubber, which is made from the milky latex of various trees, most usually the Hevea rubber tree.

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