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Rubber 101

  • Gasket Compression in Metal Housings and Assemblies

    Gasket CompressionGasket compression in metal housings and assemblies can support sealing or contribute to gasket failure. That’s because rubber gaskets are resilient, but only to a point. Compressing a gasket within allowable limits forms a reliable seal. When a gasket is over-compressed, however, the rubber won’t rebound when the compressive stresses are removed. This creates a gap between the gasket and the surface of the housing or assembly. Gaps cause leaks, and seals that leak won’t support your designs.

    Material scientists calls the permanent deformation of the gasket material “compression set”, a term that’s used widely but not always fully understood. Engineers need to know the basics of compression set, but they also need to consider its limitations as a test method. With housings and assemblies, it’s essential to account for the entire application environment, including variables such as temperature and vibration. Relaxation, a related phenomenon, is also associated with gasket compression. Continue reading

  • Four Ways to Cut Rubber Products

    Cut Rubber ProductsWhat’s the best way to cut industrial rubber products like seals, gaskets, and insulation? Manual cutting, die cutting, water jet cutting, and abrasive water jet cutting each offer advantages. They also meet different business and technical requirements. As this article from Elasto Proxy explains, choosing the right cutting method for your application requires a complete and careful analysis. Continue reading

  • Noise Control and Acoustic Insulation: Sound Sources and Frequencies

    Noise Control and Acoustic InsulationAcoustic insulation absorbs, transmits, or redirects sound – a form of energy that travels in waves. Unwanted sounds, or noise, aren’t just unpleasant to hear. They can harm human health, jeopardize worker safety, and contribute to structural fatigue. The consequences of noise can be severe, but its characteristics are sometimes misunderstood.

    In Part 1 of this series, Elasto Proxy shared a surprising example of two machines running at different decibel (dB) levels in the same room. In Part 2, we’ll examine some other sources of noise in the industries we serve. Importantly, you’ll learn why acoustic insulation must account for more than just a sound’s source. Frequency, the speed of the change of the sound, is a key design consideration for noise control. Continue reading

  • Nitrile vs. Neoprene: What’s the Difference?

    Nitrile vs. NeopreneWhat’s the difference between nitrile and neoprene for seals, gaskets, and insulation? Both elastomers provide good resistance to compression set and tearing. They withstand the same range of service temperatures, too. Some grades of neoprene offer excellent resistance to abrasion, but nitrile is known for its abrasion resistance at elevated temperatures.

    Nitrile and neoprene rubber have many similarities, but there are some important differences between these elastomers. In this article from Elasto Proxy, you’ll learn when nitrile is recommended and when neoprene is used. You’ll also compare these common compounds across all a full list of material properties so that you can make the right choice for your application. Continue reading

  • Acoustic Insulation: What You Need to Know About Noise

    Acoustic InsulationAcoustic insulation absorbs, transmits, or redirects sound – a form of energy that travels in waves. Some sounds are pleasant to hear, but others can harm human health, endanger workers, or contribute to structural fatigue. Undesirable sounds, or noise, have characteristics that designers of acoustic insulation need to understand. Without this knowledge, noise problems can cause design-related headaches.

    In Part 1 of this series from Elasto Proxy, you’ll learn about the consequences of noise and discover why its characteristics might not be what you think. You’ll also consider why decibel-level differences in noise sources matter. Then, in Part 2, we’ll examine sound measurements and noise control in greater detail. Along the way, we invite you to contact us with your questions about acoustic insulation. Continue reading

  • Nitrile Rubber for Sealing and Insulation

    Nitrile RubberWhen is nitrile rubber the right choice for sealing and insulation? This common elastomer is known by many names, including Buna-N, NBR, and acrylonitrile butadiene. There are plenty of trade names for nitrile, too. No matter what you call it, nitrile rubber offers good resistance to oils, fuels, and chemicals. Temperature and environmental conditions are limiting factors, however, and may require the selection of a more expensive material such as Viton™.

    In this article from Elasto Proxy, you’ll learn about nitrile’s advantages and disadvantages. You’ll also examine NBR compounds, compare commercial and specialty Buna-N, and consider some typical nitrile applications. Elasto Proxy supplies specialty nitrile products to a variety of industries and can create a custom sealing solution that meets your specific requirements. Nitrile isn’t the only oil-resistant elastomer, but it’s a cost-effective choice compared to some other compounds.

    Nitrile Advantages and Disadvantages

    Nitrile rubber provides good-to-excellent resistance to many oils and solvents. Examples include:

    • animal and vegetable oils
    • crude petroleum oil
    • kerosene and gasoline
    • liquified petroleum (LP) gases
    • motor oils
    • mineral oil based hydraulic fluids
    • silicone greases and oils

    For engineers and buyers, it’s important to understand that nitrile’s resistance to petroleum oils is limited by temperature. According to most chemical resistance charts, nitrile resists petroleum oil at temperatures up to 250° F (121° C). If your application requires both oil resistance and higher temperature resistance, a fluorocarbon such as Viton™ may be required instead. Nitrile is also unsuitable for highly polar solvents such as acetone, which is used in some food processing and medical applications.

    Nitrile’s advantages include good physical properties such as resistance to compression set, tearing, and abrasion. Typically, NBR or Buna-N comes in durometers (Shore A) ranging from 20 to 95 for applications that require a softer or harder rubber. Nitrile resists water, but provides poor resistance to weather, ozone, and aging. Acrylonitrile butadiene is also unsuitable for some applications because Buna-N won’t withstand temperatures that are colder than -40° F (-40° C).

    Nitrile Compounds and Specialty Grades

    Through compounding, material suppliers have developed different types of nitrile with enhanced material properties. For example, hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR) can withstand slightly higher temperatures than NBR and provides improved resistance to polar fluids. Carboxylated nitrile butadiene rubber (XNBR) has a higher compression set than Buna-N and offers improved tear and abrasion resistance. Nitrile can also be blended with polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

    For engineers and buyers, choosing the right type of nitrile may involve comparing commercial rubber to specialty grades. Commercial grades generally cost less and are available in higher minimum order quantities (MOQs). Specialty grades generally cost more and have larger MOQs, but they’re custom compounds with improved properties. ASTM D2000 provides a standard way to describe elastomers and uses the designations BF, BG, BK, and CH with both standard and specialty nitrile. Continue reading

  • Five Things You Need to Know About Rubber

    Five Things You Need to Know About RubberSome engineers and buyers already know which type of rubber they need for sealing and insulation. Others may ask if rubber comes in colors other than black (yes, it does), or specify an elastomer that costs too much or won’t meet their application requirements.

    Material scientists can spend their entire careers learning about rubber. Engineers and buyers don’t have time for such as singular focus. That’s why Elasto Proxy, a custom-fabricator of industrial rubber products, brings you this list of five things you need to know about rubber:

    • Durometer and compression drive seal performance
    • Chemical resistance can be critical – and complicated
    • Environmental resistance supports longer service life
    • Rubber parts have different tolerances than metal parts
    • The best seal and gasket designs aren’t an afterthought

    Let’s take a closer look at why these things matter to your sealing success. Continue reading

  • Commercial Grade Rubber vs. Specialty Rubber: Make the Right Choice

    Commercial Grade RubberCommercial grade rubber provides sealing and insulation for a wide variety of applications. Compounds such as commercial grade EPDM, silicone, and neoprene also cost less than specialty rubber materials that meet standards, approvals, or regulatory requirements from organizations such as ASTM International, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    For engineers, choosing the right rubber means understanding when a specialty material is required, and when a commercial grade rubber is sufficient. Engineers want to make sure that the products they design meet application requirements, but over-specifying an elastomer can incur unnecessary costs. In addition to paying more per unit of material, you may have to buy greater minimum order quantities (MOQs).

    In this article from Elasto Proxy, we’ll consider the differences between commercial grade rubber and specialty rubber in terms of some real-world examples. You’ll also learn about some best practices that can strengthen your seal designs. Continue reading

  • Neoprene Rubber for Sealing and Insulation

    Neoprene RubberWhen is neoprene rubber the right choice for sealing and insulation? This synthetic elastomer isn’t new, and chemists have created many other materials since neoprene was invented in 1930. Yet neoprene offers an excellent balance of properties, especially for industrial rubber products that require resistance to hydrocarbons, heat, flexing, and vibration.

    In this article from Elasto Proxy, you’ll learn how neoprene offers advantages for a variety of applications. Engineers and buyers can specify various types of neoprene rubber, including grades that are approved or certified according to regulatory requirements or industry standards. You’ll also learn how neoprene rubber materials support custom fabrication for seals, gaskets, and insulation. Continue reading

  • Bulb Trim Seals: Three Measurements You Need to Know

    Bulb Trim Seal MeasurementsLearn about bulb trim seal measurements from Elasto Proxy. 

    Bulb trim seals are industrial rubber products that are used to seal and insulate doors, hatches, and enclosures. They fit radiused corners and have separate bulb and retainer sections, each of which can have a different durometer (hardness) and use a different material. The bulb compresses to form a seal when the door, hatch, or enclosure is closed. The trim or retainer attaches to the flange or substrate.

    There are many different types of bulb trim seals, and plenty to learn about these industrial rubber products. In this two-part series from Elasto Proxy, we’ll examine three bulb trim seal measurements that engineers need to specify: bulb size, bend radius, and flange thickness. Continue reading

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