Quick Guide to Different Types of Rubber Elastomers
Types of Rubber

Quick Guide to Different Types of Rubber Elastomers

Today, there are many different types of rubber material that can be utilized to enhance your product or application. The actual characteristics and properties the synthetic rubber material adopts will greatly depend on the chemicals used in production. These characteristics come directly from the chemicals used.

As a result,  different elastomer types can range from being as hard as softball or soft as a pillow. Because of this, it’s vital you choose the best types of rubber materials to bolster the performance of your product or application.

Since no one expects you to understand all of the rubber elastomers and their characteristics, the custom manufacturing team at Frank Lowe is here to help. Since 1955, we’ve helped manufacturers and business owners explore, pursue and create better products and solutions with our range of rubber elastomer types. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common types of rubber materials we die cut and fabricate at Frank Lowe.

Neoprene Types of Rubber Elastomer

Neoprene or Chloroprene Rubber was one of the first oil-resistant synthetic rubbers.This type of rubber is moderately resistant to ozone, oxygen, UV, and petroleum. It’s classified as a general purpose elastomer that has good abrasion, resilience, and a low compression set. This material is also flex-cracking resistant. These qualities make neoprene ideal for sealing applications where other types of rubber wouldn’t suffice.

Silicone Types of Rubber Elastomer

Silicone is one of the different types of rubber that retains good elastomeric properties at both high and low temperatures. It’s a highly customizable product that can be formulated to meet a range of different specifications.

Silicone boasts excellent resistance to aging, ozone, and weathering. However, this material shouldn’t be exposed to silicone fluids, solvents, or fuels. Common products that use silicone rubber include:

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Types of Rubber

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) rubber possesses several characteristics of traditional rubber elastomers, such as a high tensile strength, tear resistance, and a low compression set.

What sets EPDM rubber apart from other types of rubber is its ability to resist degradation from weathering agents such as ozone and UV rays. At the same time, EPDM boasts resistance to steam and polar substances. All of its desirable attributes make EPDM ideal for outdoor use as the perfect weather resistant rubber.

Nitrile or Buna-N Types of Rubber Material

Nitrile — also known as Buna-N — is a highly versatile rubber material. You can find nitrile in countless products and applications ranging from small engine carburetors to marine systems. It’s also one of the most widely used elastomers utilized in the manufacturing of industrial gaskets and seals. In addition to amazing chemical resistance, nitrile is also resistant to:

  • Butane
  • Propane
  • Hydraulic fluids
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    Silicone greases
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    Synthetic oils
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    And a range of fuels from non-aromatic to aromatic petroleum to aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon jet fuels.

Red Rubber / Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) Types of Rubber Elastomers

As a copolymer of butadiene and styrene, red rubber or styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) elastomers have characteristics similar to natural rubber, which means it’s often substituted as a low price alternative. It’s a great elastomer to use against hot water, cold water, low pressure steam, air, or gas. Red rubber is known to:

  • Conform easily to uneven flange surfaces,
  • Have excellent impact strength,
  • Boast good abrasion resistance
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    Offer good resilience and high tensile strength

However, red rubber isn’t best suited for use with solvents, oils, fuels, or hydraulic fluids.

Viton Types of Rubber Elastomer

Viton is created from a high-performance fluoroelastomer that delivers exceptional heat resistance — typically up to 500° F. In addition to providing heat resistance, Viton is also resistant to:

  • Fungus and mold
  • Oils
  • Weather, sun, and oxidation
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    The majority of mineral acids
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    Concentrated bases

Importantly, Viton rubber gaskets offer resistance to compression sets over extended periods of time at high temperatures. It also has good electrical properties for low-frequency, low-voltage applications.

Diaphragm Rubber

Diaphragm rubber is a fabric reinforced, oil resistant neoprene material ideally used to transmit motion between fluids. Diaphragm rubber is excellent for weather stripping material and can provide a long service life.

Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR)

Thermoplastic rubber or TPR is a physical mix of materials, such as rubber and plastic. Simply put, TPRs offer the feel, look, and elasticity of rubber with the processability of plastic. TPR materials are unique in they exhibit the physical characteristics of both plastics and rubbers as well as elastomeric and thermoplastic properties. Thermoplastic rubbers offer:

  • Good dielectric properties
  • High flexural fatigue resistance
  • Good abrasion and tear resistance
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    High impact strength
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    Excellent resistance to chemicals and weathering
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    Broad range
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Thermoplastic rubbers are commonly used in:

  • Gaskets
  • Consumer products and toys
  • Footwear products
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    Soft touch over-molding
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    Automotive Applications
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    And more.

Cloth Inserted Neoprene Types of Rubber

Cloth inserted neoprene is a type of rubber compound made with one or more polyester fabric. This type of rubber can be especially helpful whenever dimensional stability is required. Cloth inserted neoprene can be used when moderate resistance to oil is necessary and in situations where cold and hot gases and water are being conveyed.

Unlike non-cloth types of rubber, the cloth will stay intact whenever compression or bolt loads are high. Cloth inserted neoprene works to reduce gasket creep and adds an enhanced level of stability.

Contact Frank Lowe to Explore, Pursue, and Create with Different Types of Rubber

In addition to the previously mentioned different types of rubber, we also create rubber die cuts for components and applications with FDA-approved white rubber and many others. Fortunately, we don’t expect you to be an expert in the different types of rubber.

Instead, we’ll use our decades of experience to guide you to the best solution based on the unique needs of your application. Simply put, we’ll get to know your application and help you explore, pursue, and create better with different types of rubber.

About the Author Randy Cohen

Since 2002, Randy Cohen has served as the Senior Vice President of Frank Lowe — leading Sales and Marketing as well as a variety of Administrative operations. Randy has 25 years of experience with a background in sales & marketing, production and business management, serving both government agencies and private industry. He holds a B.A from Syracuse University and a Masters and Professional Diploma from Fordham University. Randy uses his unique set of experiences to help businesses and entities across all sectors explore, pursue, and create better solutions.

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