2009 Volume 26 Issue 1 Pages 71-79
Eucommia ulmoides Oliver is a deciduous tree distributed in China, and is the only species in its genus, and the only genus in its family. It grows in temperate zones, and produces long-chain trans-polyisoprene throughout the entire plant. This trans-polyisoprene (TPI) derived from Eucommia is called Eucommia rubber (EU-rubber), and is a hydrocarbon with a carbon molecular weight of a few hundred thousand. EU-rubber is a hard rubber with thermoplasticity, and has properties similar to plastic. In terms of practical use, these plant-derived polymers are attracting attention as an industrial raw material to substitute for petroleum, and demand is expected to grow in the future. Hydrocarbon is also a fuel which has energy with the same value as petroleum.