A Guide to Selecting the Right Elastomer Product - Ganna Magazine Blog

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A Guide to Selecting the Right Elastomer Product

Stretch them or bend them with all your might. Keep them for a long time in an ultra-hot environment. Handle them roughly. Treat them as bad as you can — these sturdy, elastic materials will come back to their original shapes. Yes, we are talking about elastomer products. Their amazing ability to deform and recover under stress qualifies them to serve in a number of important capacities. First created as an alternative to natural rubber, elastomers have come a long way.

Today, they are heavily utilized in diverse industries in the forms of sealants, O-Rings, gaskets, and more. With the easy availability of the different elastomer types, it has become difficult for product designers and engineers to choose a specific elastomer type for their applications.

This quick guide will tell you what properties you should focus on while selecting the right elastomer variety for your specific application needs:

Focus on Performance Qualities

Before selecting just any elastomer variety, analyze your needs. Do you want a strong sealant that will last long? Is flexibility as important to you as its durability? If your application is going to be used in a high-temperature environment, you will need an industrial sealant that is strong yet flexible.

Therefore, you should buy a product reinforced with powerful chemicals. The chemical treatment makes them suitable for use in highly demanding production environments. These products are so strong that they can easily replace metals in a range of industrial applications.

Besides being strong and flexible, your elastomer substance has to be highly resilient. Otherwise, it may not be able to withstand the high temperature of the production environment. Select a material that can be stretched at least twice its length.

The ideal material is one that returns to its original shape even after repeated stretching. The high resilience can be attributed to these products’ polymer composition. Buy a material that can withstand above glass transition temperature (Tg) so that it doesn’t melt in high temperatures.

Find Out the Composition
What goes into the making of elastomers? That is one of the first things that you must check. These rubber compounds typically consist of five to ten ingredients, each one rendering specific physical attributes to the final product.

The polymer is the leading component in all elastomer varieties. This is the element that makes it heat and chemical resistant. The polymer also determines how the product will behave in low-temperature conditions.

It is preferable to use a product that has reinforcing filler and plasticizer. While the former is used to strengthen the material, the latter is used to improve its performances at low temperatures. A good quality elastomer material should also include such ingredients as anti-oxidants, a release package, scorch retarder, curative, and an accelerator.

If you imagine the final product as a cake, the polymer can be compared to flour, curative as the egg, plasticizer, and release package as the butter, and the blowing agent as the baking powder. After mixing all these ingredients, the mixture is placed in molds and heated at a low temperature. After the mixture sets by curing, it achieves the right balance of properties.

Pay Attention to Material Curing
Curing is critical for determining the elastomer performance grades, so be sure to take note of how the material was cured or what curing steps were used.  When done at a high temperature, curing helps to create long-chain polymers.

They are connected by crosslinks, which are crucial for giving the end product some good elasticity. The recovery characteristics of the finished material depend on the elasticity, which also contributes to the stability of the material under heat and pressure.

Select the Material with Suitable Performance Grades
A range of elastomer products is available in the market. They come with a wide range of performance grades starting from the most basic ones and stretching to the high-performance alternatives. Choose the right grade according to your application need. Don’t buy a high-performance material and pay more when your application does not require that.  At the same time, don’t buy a less-than-ideal material simply to save money; it may prove costly in the long run.

Elastomer products are some of the most versatile engineering materials available today. With hundreds of compounds available in the market, selecting the best fit for your application can be intimidating. Refer to our guide for a hassle-free and accurate selection.
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