Rubber (also known as elastomer) is an extremely common material found in many different products and machines, but it can be difficult to determine the correct kind of rubber to work best for a specific application.
Selecting the correct combination of material compound and geometry will provide optimum performance, often meaning that the specification and design of rubber seals are crucial to the longevity of the application.
Here’s a breakdown of particular applications:
The industrial sector uses a wide range of pneumatic controls and actuators, resulting in a series of unique challenges relating to complex geometries, to name just one of the many variables. Typically, elastomeric membranes and diaphragms are used in these types of applications – and depending on the complexity of the application, custom component design may be required. In the case of relatively standard applications, a simple O-Ring may offer the optimal sealing solution.
When selecting rubber gasket seals for the industrial sector, a high performance sealing material is required to meet the important application requirements, such as resistance to temperature and pressure extremes.
Two popular elastomer material types include:
EPDM - with fair tensile strength and ability to operate in temperatures from -60°C through to 288°C, they offer a versatile solution and are resistant to chemical attack. However, it should be noted that they are not compatible with applications with mineral and synthetic lubricants, and hydrocarbon fuels.
FKM - this rubber seal includes copolymer, terpolymer and tetrapolymer versions. An FKM elastomer is a highly fluorinated polymer that provides excellent chemical resistance and exhibits very low gas permeability, withstanding extreme temperatures from -50° through to 250°C.
Other industrial application materials include FEPM, FFKM, FVMQ, HNBR, NBR and VMQ. The full elastomer materials guide can be found here.
With soft-close mechanisms in common usage around the modern home, the specialist seals required for use in these dampening systems are in high demand. Typically used for sliding drawers and cupboard doors, gaskets and frame seals offer a versatile solution as they are designed to fill space between joined objects whilst under compression.
Elastomer material types used in the applications include:
NBR - this material has good abrasion resistance and is typically used to manufacture diaphragms and o-rings (making it perfect for domestic soft-closing systems). NBR elastomers provide good compression set, ozone resistance, improved tensile strength and density, allowing the material to be suitable across many different non-critical applications.
VMQ - this silicone seal material has distinctive properties including excellent resilience to sunlight, bacteria, fungi and a wide range of media, making it a good sealing option for domestic applications.
The automotive sector must get the specification of an effective sealing solution correct as it is critical to consistent, reliable performance and functionality. With gaskets and O-rings used throughout the automotive construction process, there are a significant number of challenges for sealing materials to handle.
Elastomer material types that are widely used in this industry include:
AEM - this material offers a combination of high heat (up to 160°C) and weather resistance. Operating under relatively harsh conditions, AEM seals offer flexibility at low temperatures and have moderate resistance to mineral oils.
Other automotive application materials include EPDM, FKM and NBR. The full elastomer materials guide can be found here.
The suite of sealing materials available can represent different advantages and disadvantages for any given application, and it is always best to discuss your sealing requirements with an expert to ensure reliable performance. We have outlined the performance characteristics in a previous blog, covering the main benefits and drawbacks of each material.
Whether you need FDA compliant sealing solutions or a material to handle high and low temperature extremes, contact our expert team for an optimised approach tailored to your exact industrial requirements.