Material Selection

Material Selection

Selecting the right materials for your product is essential. After all, it is the polymer that resists heat, weather, chemicals and light. At the same time, the structure of the elastomer moulding defines whether your polymer product will provide flexibility in the cold or give the correct response under static and dynamic loading. Explore our material guide to discover the best-suited polymer for your application. 

ACM Rubber – Acrylic Rubber

Polyacrylic rubber, also known as ACM, are manufactured elastomers that are created from acrylic monomers. ACM rubber is created through a process of emulsion or suspension polymerisation, which is designed to make these moulded rubber components suitable for use in the most testing environments.

What Are The Advantages Of ACM Rubber?

ACM rubber has an array of properties that make it suitable for use in a range of hard-wearing applications. The key feature of ACM is its incredibly high resistance to hot hydraulic oil and oxidation, making it ideal for use in hydraulic machinery and equipment. Furthermore, ACM is naturally resistant to ozone and weathering, which makes it far superior to nitrile rubber (NBR).

What Are The Disadvantages Of ACM Rubber?

Despite ACM rubber being well suited to a range of applications, particularly environments that face weathering and environmental pressures, this rubber will not be well suited to environments that face large amounts of water and rain damage. This is due to ACM having poor water resistance, as well as low resistance to low temperatures. This moulded rubber solution is only suitable in applications as low as -10°C. Also, ACM rubber has a poor level of resistance to acids and alkalis.

Additionally, ACM rubber does have a very low resilience in temperatures below 70°C. However, despite this, it has found use in vibration damping.

What Are The Typical Applications Of ACM Rubber

Typical applications for ACM include:

  • Automotive Components
  • Textiles
  • Adhesives
  • Coatings

What Temperatures Does ACM Rubber Suit?

ACM has a typical working temperature range from -10°C to 150°C.

AU & EU – Cast Polyurethane Rubber (PU)

Cast Polyurethane rubber (PU) can be divided into two very distinct classes. These are Polyester, also known as AU, and Polyether Urethanes, also known as EU. These cast PU products are known for their outstanding tensile strength and their tear and abrasion resistance. This is what makes them great for use in custom polyurethane moulded products such as gaskets and diaphragms. Here at DLR Elastomer Engineering, our polyurethane moulded solutions are based on diphenylmethane diisocyanate, also known as MDI. 

What Are The Advantages Of PU Rubber?

PU Rubber is a useful, versatile rubber material due to its high levels of durability and resistance to oxidation, ozone and petroleum-based fuels and oils. This makes it a great solution as custom polyurethane moulded products for oil and gas applications. Polyesters have similar physical properties to those of polyethers but tend to be more superior. 

Additionally, PU rubber features good electrical properties, making it suitable for a broad array of applications, particularly as a coating to protect electrical products. Also, as these materials are liquid cast, tooling prices tend to be lower than for heat and pressure moulded rubbers. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of Cast PU Rubber?

Unlike polyethers, polyesters can be affected by not only hot water but also high levels of humidity. With this in mind, PU moulded parts are often unsuitable for use in areas that come into contact with hot water or warmer, more humid environments. 

Furthermore, another disadvantage of cast PU rubber is that the compression set and creep properties are only deemed to be fair. With this in mind, these products may not be suitable for applications that demand high compression sets. Additionally, cast polyurethane has a low resistance to acids and alkali. 

Another consideration to take into account is that, given the high hysteresis, also known as damping, of most cast PU rubbers, care must be taken for applications that involve high-frequency deformation, as well as tyre speeds of over 8mph. 

What Are The Typical Applications Of PU Rubber?

Cast PU rubber suits a wide array of applications, particularly those in oil applications. With this in mind, the typical applications for PU include:

  • Abrasion-resistant Coatings and Lining
  • Moulded Rubber Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Haul-off Pads
  • Hoses 
  • Seals. 

What Temperatures Does Cast PU Rubber Operate Under?

PU moulded products suit environments with a typical working temperature range of -40°C to +90°C.

CR Rubber – Chloroprene (Neoprene®) Rubber

Created in 1930 by DuPont, Neoprene® (CR) was initially introduced as an air and oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber. As a result of this, Neoprene® was the very first mass-produced synthetic rubber on the market. CR Polychloroprene (Neoprene®) is a great general purpose rubber material option that can be manufactured in a range of different ways to suit an array of environments and applications. 

What Are The Advantages Of CR Rubber?

CR Rubber was one of the world’s first oil-resistant synthetic rubbers. This general-purpose rubber has an excellent balance of physical and chemical properties that make it suitable in a range of applications. 

Whilst it may only have a moderate resistance to petroleum-based oil and fuels, CR has a much better chemical, oil, ozone and heat resistance than natural rubber, despite the lower level of physical properties. 

One major benefit of Neoprene® rubber is that by nature, CR rubber is one of the few self-extinguishing rubbers, which means it has incredible flame resistance. Additionally, its gas permeability is relatively low. 

For industrial applications, Neoprene® gives excellent rubber-metal bonds and also has good levels of rebound resilience within testing environments.

What Are The Disadvantages Of CR Rubber?

As you may expect from its widespread use for underwater wear, including wetsuits and diving costumes, Neoprene® is water-resistant. However, whilst this is suitable for underwater clothing, Neoprene® also exhibits poor electrical properties. 

Unfortunately, there are certain grades of Neoprene® that may crystallise and harden when they are stored for a long time. Although, thankfully, they will melt on heating to make them easier to process again!

What Are The Typical Applications Of Neoprene?

CR Rubber is widely used in various applications due to its useful properties and reasonable price point. This is why Neoprene suits belting, coated fabrics, cable jackets, seals and gaiters. 

What Is The Typical Working Temperature Of Neoprene?

CR Rubber works in a range of temperatures from -35°C to +100°C.

CSM Rubber – Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene (Hypalon®)

Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene (CSM), widely known by the brand name Hypalon, is deemed to be a superior rubber material to chloroprene in some respects. This is due to CSM rubber having better heat ageing, a higher level of chemical resistance, and low gas permeability. 

CSM rubber often features around 20 to 45% chlorine, which provides it with excellent resistance to ozone, UV, weathering and chemicals. CSM is also resistant to oxidising agents and corrosive chemicals. However, it can also be resistant to hot water when cured.

What Are The Advantages Of CSM Rubber?

CSM has several key properties that make it suitable for hazardous environments. These include a high level of ozone, UV, weathering and chemical resistance, alongside improved heat ageing and low gas permeability. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of CSM Rubber?

Similar to Chloroprene, CSM rubber also has poor low-temperature flexibility and high levels of chemical resistance. However, CSM rubber has poor fuel resistance, which does not suit automotive applications.

Additionally, dynamic sealing applications are not recommended for CSM due to the poor nature of its compression set.

What Are The Typical Applications Of CSM Rubber?

CSM rubber is typically used in the following applications:

  • Static Seal Applications
  • Electrical Cable Jacketing
  • Automotive Components
  • Wire and Cable

What Is The Working Temperature Range Of CSM?

CSM rubber is suitable in a range of working temperatures, from -20°C to +125°C.

ECO – Epichlorohydrin Rubber

Our Epichlorohydrin Rubber (ECO) is a synthetic speciality elastomer produced by combining chloromethyl oxirane and oxirane. This copolymer has very similar properties to nitrile rubber but with superior heat, fuel, oil ozone resistance and improved low-temperature flexibility. These properties work together to make this the perfect elastomer solution for various applications, including automotive fuel systems, air ducts and vibration damping.

What Are The Advantages Of ECO Rubber?

ECO rubber has improved heat, oil and petrol resistance to nitrile rubber, with low gas permeability and superior temperature flexibility. Additionally, ECO rubber is highly resistant to weather conditions and has exceptional heat and mineral oil resistance when compared to Nitrile rubber (NBR). Plus, ECO offers excellent resistance to hydrogen peroxide, ozone and alkalis. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of ECO?

ECO rubber has a poor compression set which limits its use as a sealing material. The corrosive effect of ECO on metal materials can increase tooling costs whilst also limiting the number of metal bonding applications this rubber product is suitable for.

What Are The Typical Applications Of ECO Rubber?

ECO rubber is widely used in automotive applications due to its heat resistance and excellent resistance to hydrogen peroxide and mineral oils. These automotive applications can include using ECO rubber for seals, hoses, gaskets, ‘o’-rings, cable jackets and belts. The inherent static dissipative characteristic of ECO makes it ideal for roller covering applications in laser printers and photocopiers.

What Temperatures Can ECO Rubber Operate Under?

ECO has a typical working temperature range of -35°C to +125°C.

EPDM - Ethylene Propylene Diene Rubber

Ethylene Propylene Diene Rubber (EPDM) is a copolymer manufactured from ethylene, propylene, and a small number of diene monomers. These diene monomers provide cross-linking sites that allow EPDM to be vulcanised. A small number of diene monomers form unsaturated groups pendant from the main saturated chain. These groups facilitate cross-linking reactions that do not affect the integrity of the polymer backbone.

What Are The Advantages Of EPDM?

EPDM rubber has excellent heat, ozone and chemical resistance properties. In addition to this, EPDM also has good physical properties and is resistant to polar fluids.

EPDM also has excellent resistance to low temperatures. Low-temperature properties require the polymer to be amorphous and low on ethylene. Good electrical properties require high ethylene to facilitate high doses of inert mineral fillers to give good electrical resistance. EPDM rubber can be compounded to provide excellent electrical resistance.

What Are The Disadvantages Of EPDM?

EPDM is not suitable for exposure to petroleum-based fluids and di-ester lubricants.

What Are The Typical Applications Of EPDM?

Some of the typical applications where EPDM can be used include:

  • Accumulator Bladders
  • Cable Connectors
  • Insulators
  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Hoses
  • Seals

In addition, EPDM is available in Potable Water (WRAS) grades and a variety of ‘Food Quality’ mixes that are used in the food industry.

What Temperatures Can EPDM Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range of Ethylene Propylene Diene Rubber is -45°C to +125°C. Peroxide cured EPDM can withstand excursions of 150°C during service life.

FFKM – Perfluoroelastomers

Perfluoroelastomers (FFKM) rubbers are fully-fluorinated fluorocarbon elastomers. They fill an important niche for applications involving aggressive chemicals at temperatures up to 325°C.

What Are The Advantages Of FFKM?

They are the most chemically resistant elastomers on the market and have outstanding high temperature, chemical, gas, and liquid permeation resistance. Furthermore, FFKM has excellent steam, ozone and weathering resistance and delivers exceptional performance for sealing thanks to its elastic properties. Because of this, FFKM is highly suitable for use within hazardous environments using aggressive chemicals.

What Are The Disadvantages Of FFKM?

There are not many disadvantages of FFKM other than the fact that it is extremely expensive and has poor physical properties and poor low-temperature properties. Despite its suitability in hazardous environments, FFKM does not perform well within below freezing conditions.

What Are The Typical Applications Of FFKM?

Some of the typical applications that FFKM finds use in are:

  • Core Sleeves
  • Chemical Processing
  • Oil & Gas
  • Aircraft Engines
  • Heavy Duty Machinery
  • Automotives

What Temperatures Can FFKM Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range of FFKM is 0°C to +325°C.

FKM – Fluoroelastomer (Viton®)

Fluoroelastomers or Fluorocarbons (FKM), widely known as Viton®, are among the most suitable rubbers for continuous use at temperatures of 200°C and up to 300°C for short periods. Viton® is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company.

Various grades of FKM are available, depending upon which physical properties such as compression set, flexibility (as in diaphragms) or chemical resistance are required. Both copolymers & terpolymers are widely used.

What Are The Advantages Of FKM?

FKM has excellent resistance to ozone and weathering, oils and most chemicals. They can operate under a wide temperature range and are inherently more resistant to burning than other non-fluorinated hydrocarbons. Their good mechanical properties, improving sealing performance, and good compression set makes FKM a popular choice. It is also suitable for operation within environments that require parts to be resistant to explosive decompression.

What Are The Disadvantages Of FKM Rubber?

One of the main disadvantages of FKM is the fact that it displays limited flexibility when required to operate at temperatures in the region of -10°C. Special low-temperature grades are available. However, FKM does tend to be expensive and unsuitable for use in the presence of phosphate esters and ketones.

What Are The Typical Applications Of FKM?

Some of the typical applications where FKM is suitable for use to include:

  • Accumulator Bladders
  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • O-rings
  • Seals Operating in Especially Harsh Environments.

What Temperatures Can FKM Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range for FKM ranges from – 20°C to +230°C.

FVMQ – Fluorosilicone Rubber

Fluorosilicone Rubber (FVMQ) can operate over a very wide range of temperatures. Their resistance to di-ester lubricants, ozone and weathering, is excellent.

What Are The Advantages Of FVMQ?

Combining the favourable characteristics of fluorocarbons and silicones, FVMQ has a whole host of advantages for use in sealing solutions across a wide range of applications. FVMQ has good electrical strength and moderate oil resistance. It also has excellent weather, ozone, mineral oil, chemical, flame and heat resistance.

What Are The Disadvantages Of FVMQ?

Despite its many advantages, FVMQ is particularly expensive and is unsatisfactory for use with phosphate esters. Like silicone rubbers. Similar to silicone rubber, FVMQs physical properties and impermeability to gases are poor.

What Are The Typical Applications Of FVMQ?

Typical applications of FVMQ include:

  • Aerospace fuel system components
  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Hose lining
  • Seals
  • O-rings.

What Temperatures Can FVMQ Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range for FVMQ ranges from -60°C to +200°C.

HNBR – Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber

Hydrogenated AcryloNitrile Butadiene Rubber (HNBR) properties depend upon the acrylonitrile content and the degree of hydrogenation of the copolymer. They have somewhat better oil and chemical resistance than nitrile rubber and can withstand much higher temperatures.

What Are The Advantages Of HNBR?

HNBR has excellent resistance to sour oil and gas, steam, hot water and ozone. Physical properties such as tensile and tear strength, elongation, abrasion resistance and compression set are excellent, while compounds exhibit good dynamic behaviour at elevated temperatures.

Like EPDM, hydrogenated nitrile rubber can either be cured with sulphur or peroxide, depending upon which properties are the most important.

Components in HNBR offer an excellent range of performance at a cost between nitrile rubber and fluoroelastomers (FKM).

What Are The Disadvantages Of HNBR?

The limitations of HNBR include poor electrical properties, poor flame resistance, and it can easily be damaged by aromatic oils and polar organic solvents.

What Are The Typical Applications Of HNBR?

Typical applications include:

  • Accumulator Bladders
  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Seals (especially for the oil and gas industries)

What Temperatures Can HNBR Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range of HNBR is -25°C to +160°C.

IIR – Butyl Rubber

Butyl rubber, also known as Isobutylene - Isoprene (IIR), is a synthetic rubber developed in the 1940s.
IIR has exceptionally low gas permeability, making it ideal for inner tubes and high pressure/vacuum sealing applications.

What Are The Advantages Of Butyl Rubber?

Butyl rubber’s very low resilience makes it suitable for shock and vibration damping, while its chemical unsaturation gives it excellent resistance to heat, ozone, and weathering. Butyl rubber can also be used in dilute acids and alkalis. Butyl rubber also provides high-energy absorption and electrical isolation performance.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Butyl Rubber?

Butyl rubber is not suitable for use in mineral or petroleum-based fluids.

What Are The Typical Applications Of Butyl Rubber?

Typical applications include:

  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Inner tubes
  • Liners
  • O-rings
  • Pharmaceutical & Food
  • Rubber Seals
  • Speaker Surrounds
  • Bottle Closures.

What Temperatures Can Butyl Rubber Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range of Butyl rubber ranges from -50°C to +120°C.

NBR – Nitrile Rubber

Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), usually shortened to nitrile or NBR, was developed in 1941 as the first oil resistant rubber. NBR rubber grades with high acrylonitrile content have better oil resistance, whereas low acrylonitrile content gives better low-temperature flexibility and resilience.

What Are The Advantages Of NBR?

NBR has moderate physical properties but good abrasion resistance. It is extremely versatile, reliable and offers reasonable resistance to petroleum oil, crude oil, water, gasoline and some hydraulic fluids. Offering great abrasion and compression set resistance, NBR is a cost-effective sealing solution. Because of this, NBR is a popular sealing material for a wide range of applications.

What Are The Disadvantages Of NBR?

Some disadvantages of NBR include high gas permeability. NBR’s ozone resistance and electrical properties are also poor. NBR is not suitable for use with polar solvents and its poor flame resistance can be a disadvantage..

Certain grades of nitrile rubber can be compounded with PVC to improve ageing, flame, petrol and
ozone resistance which combats some of the disadvantages listed above. Indeed, carboxylated grades of nitrile rubber (XNBR) have enhanced physical properties and higher temperature resistance.

What Are The Typical Applications Of NBR?

Typical applications include:

  • Accumulator bladders
  • Diaphragms
  • Gaskets
  • Hose
  • Liners
  • O-Rings
  • Seals

Potable water (WRAS) compounds of NBR are available as are mixes suitable for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

What Temperatures Can NBR Operate Under?

Low acrylonitrile materials go down to -50°C, and peroxide cured materials up to +150°C. The typical working temperature range of NBR ranges from -25°C to +100°C.

NR - Natural Rubber

Natural rubber is the only non-synthetic rubber available on the market and has been in commercial use since the beginning of the 20th century. Natural rubber is extracted from the sap of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree grown in renewable plantations. One true advantage of natural rubber is that it is fully biodegradable.

What Are The Advantages Of Natural Rubber?

The tensile strength, elongation, and abrasion resistance of natural rubber is excellent over a wide hardness range. With the exception of certain formulations of polybutadiene, it has the highest resilience of all rubbers. Natural rubber is known for having good tear strength, fatigue resistance, and excellent compression set. All of these benefits make natural rubber the ideal choice for dynamic applications at low and ambient temperatures.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Natural Rubber?

Although natural rubber can be used with water and some dilute acids, alkalis and chemicals, EPDM usually is preferable for most aqueous applications.

Natural rubber compounds are not suitable for exposure to petroleum-based oils and fuels. The reason being is that natural rubber has poor resistance to oils and elevated temperatures and is susceptible to attack by ozone unless specifically compounded with antiozonants.

What Are The Typical Applications Of Natural Rubber?

Some of the typical applications that natural rubber can be used in include:

  • Anti-vibration mounts
  • Drive couplings
  • Haul-off pads
  • Tyres

What Temperatures Can Natural Rubber Operate Under?

The typical working temperature for natural rubber ranges from -50°C to +100°C.

SBR Rubber - Styrene Butadiene Rubber

Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR rubber) is a synthetic rubber consisting of styrene and butadiene monomers. The random copolymer has similar characteristics to that of natural rubber.

SBR rubber is one of the cheaper general purpose rubbers used as a substitute for natural rubber (NR), making SBR rubber a cost-effective alternative.

What Are The Advantages Of SBR Rubber?

There are a range of advantages of using SBR rubber. Often it is used as a replacement for natural rubber due to its cost-effectiveness. Additionally, SBR rubber offers excellent abrasion resistance and crack endurance. It also delivers a good compression set and water resistance.

While it is commonly understood that SBR rubber’s physical strength, resilience, and low-temperature properties are usually inferior to natural rubber, SBR rubber’s heat-ageing properties and abrasion resistance are much better.

What Are The Disadvantages Of SBR Rubber?

A potential downside of SBR rubber is that it is not oil or fuel resistant. In addition, it can be prone to weathering. One of the main disadvantages of SBR rubber is its poor sunlight and ozone resistance. These factors make it less effective in outdoor applications.

What Are The Typical Applications Of SBR Rubber?

Typical applications of SBR include:

  • Drive Couplings
  • Haul-off Pads
  • Shoe Soles/Heels
  • Tyres

An application where SBR rubber is not typically applied is the food and beverage industry. However, in recent years, some specialised food-grade polymers have been developed for food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic applications. 

What Temperatures Can SBR Operate Under?

The typical working temperature for SBR rubber ranges from -25°C to +100°C for static sealing.

VMQ - Silicone Rubber

VMQ Silicone rubber is a high-performance elastomer that is ideal for high and low-temperature applications. Silicone Rubber’s unique structure provides material flexibility, and it is consistent over a wide range of temperatures thanks to its chemical characteristics.

What Are The Advantages Of Silicone Rubber?

There are many benefits of using silicone rubber. One of the main advantages of silicone rubber is its heat resistance. It offers outstanding high-temperature resistance, with its typical working temperature ranging from -60°C to +250°C.

The electrical properties of silicone are excellent, and it is commonly known that its resistance to weathering and ozone attack is outstanding.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Silicone Rubber?

While there are many advantages of using silicone rubber, one of the disadvantages of silicone rubber is that it is not resistant to superheated steam. The physical properties of silicone rubber are generally low but are retained at higher temperatures. Silicone rubber is resistant to petroleum-based fluids and has a high gas permeability rate.

Food Quality/FDA compliant grades are available for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Room Temperature Vulcanisation (RTV) grades are also available, usually for prototypes or small batch quantities.

What Are The Typical Applications Of Silicone Rubber?

The typical applications for silicone rubber include the following:

  • Automotive
  • Food Storage
  • Construction and Restoration
  • Electronics
  • Medical applications

What Temperatures Can Silicone Rubber Operate Under?

The typical working temperature range for Silicone Rubber is  -60°C to +250°C.

Develop

When it comes to the rubber development stage, DLR aims to imprint their engineering and materials science knowledge and expertise on every rubber production solution.

Manufacture

Through many years of research and development, our design processes have been streamlined to result in the successful and economical rubber manufacturing services for which we are well known.

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If you want to learn more about our products and services, or looking for advice, our team are happy to help you. Send us your enquiry using the form below, or email us by contacting technical@elastomer.co.uk

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