Long-lasting & effective alternatives to natural rubber include EPDM gaskets, neoprene, and silicone. Learn about the properties of each material, their benefits and drawbacks, and the applications that best suit each material.
EPDM ( Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)
EPDM is a synthetic rubber type. EPDM contains a saturated polymer backbone, which provides it with superior resilience against natural rubber as well as other unsaturated materials. The material is also rather elastic and flexible, making it perfect for making seals.
The raw EPDM material is frequently mixed with the following compounds:
- Fillers (that are calcium carbonate and carbon black)
- Polymerizers (paraffin oil)
- Processes of foaming
EPDM is water and alkali-resistant, but it should not be used with oils, kerosene, or other hydrocarbons.
Silicone rubber & EPDM are frequently used interchangeably. Both are resistant to deterioration from the environment, making them suitable for seals & gaskets. Silicone rubber, on the other hand, keeps its properties and remains stable at temperatures as high as 446 °F, which is higher than EPDM’s standard temperature. Silicone rubber is also sterilizable, making it an excellent choice for foods, drinks, and medical applications.
Pros and Cons of EPDM Gaskets
EPDM is easy to work with in the manufacturing and finishing stages since it conforms to the form of designs through a range of production techniques. EPDM’s resilience to damage is one of its main advantages. EPDM seals and gaskets are resistant to a wide range of environmental variables in home, commercial, and industrial settings. It is resistant to weathering, UV light, & ozone, making it an excellent choice for outdoor seals.
EPDM may also act as an insulator, making it ideal for outside seals and gaskets that must assist manage temperatures rather than only preventing impurities.
The majority of EPDM’s beneficial qualities, however, are only present at temperatures below 266°F (130°C). Its ability to resist damage reduces dramatically once it reaches that temperature, as it begins to melt or bend.
Neoprene is a synthetic material made by chlorine polymerization. Flexible, resistant to environmental damage, and chemical stability are only a few of the material’s major characteristics. Neoprene & EPDM are both tough synthetic rubbers that are frequently utilized to make similar products and components.
While EPDM provides more benefits over a wider temperature range, neoprene is a helpful, cost-effective option for parts with only a small risk of damage or relatively moderate working circumstances.
Silicone is also a synthetic rubber that can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Along with neoprene and EPDM, this material is utilized in the production of goods that require flexibility and damage resistance.
By way of contrast, silicone & neoprene both work admirably in cold temperatures, while silicone is far superior in high-temperature applications. Because of its great tear resistance and outstanding elongation qualities, silicone is frequently chosen over EPDM.
Synthetic rubbers are used in a variety of household and commercial applications. EPDM, neoprene, & silicone rubber are three related materials for gaskets, O-rings, and other sealing components that offer flexibility, longevity, and good formability. However, each material has advantages that are important to consider, both in terms of the final product and the project’s overall budget.