Sealing Material Selection Guide: Rubber Materials (Part 1)

Rubber materials play a vital role in sealing. They ensure the prevention of leaks and provide dependable performance under application-specific conditions. Yet choosing the right rubber can be challenging because so many different materials are available. By understanding your application requirements and learning about some common elastomers, you can make an informed decision. 

In Part 1 of this series, MACH Rubber covers the basics of rubber material selection. Remember that each sealing application is different, so take the time to find out which compound will provide optimal performance and meet your specific requirements. For moulded rubber products that are backed by material science and engineering expertise, contact us. 

Sealing Materials and Application Requirements 

Each rubber has its own attributes. That’s why thoroughly understanding your application requirements is the first step in rubber material selection. Consider factors such as:  

operating temperature range 

pressure conditions 

chemical exposure 

other environmental factors 

Understanding your requirements will help to narrow your options and ensure that the elastomer you chose can withstand application-specific conditions.  

Common Types of Rubber Materials 

Next, familiarize yourself with some commonly used rubber materials for sealing applications. The table below provides some examples.  

Material Identifier Description Nitrile Rubber NBR Excellent resistance to oil, fuel, and other petroleum-based fluids. Suitable for seals and gaskets with moderate temperature and pressure requirements. Silicone Rubber VMQ Excellent flexibility over a wide temperature range. Good resistance to ultraviolet (UV) light, ozone, and weathering. Ideal for high-temperature applications. Lacks good resistance to tearing and abrasion, however. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer EPDM Exceptional resistance to weathering, ozone, and aging. Suitable for outdoor applications and exposure to various chemicals.   Fluoroelastomers FKM,  Viton ®  Outstanding resistance to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and fuels. Ideal for applications that require exceptional sealing performance. 

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