Rubber refers to a special material with great resistance to abrasion and stretching capability that is transformable into different forms.
This guide discusses the main 14 types of rubbers for your use.
Whether you want to learn about th
e advantages, disadvantages or applications – you will find the information right here.
Let’s dive right in
1. Natural Rubber
Natural rubber is a product obtained from plants. After harvesting, you will process it to make latex.
Latex is a milky and sticky colloid obtained from trees by tapping. Tapping involves making cuts on the tree bark and draining the sap which undergoes refining to produce natural rubber.
When processing rubber, it is common to subject it to heating and addition of sulphur to augment its strength and elastic properties. This process is called vulcanization.
Advantages of Natural Rubber
Some of the benefits in using natural rubber in your application are listed below:
- Displays impressive vibration dampening qualities.
- Highly elastic rubber
- Superior tensile strength
- Portrays great resistance to abrasion and tearing.
- The compression set values for natural rubber are low.
- You can bond this material to a variety of substances.
Disadvantages of Natural Rubber
When using natural rubber, you are prone to the following main drawbacks:
- It is not resistant to oil and heat
- Its cost compared to synthetic rubber is inconstant.
Application of Natural Rubber
For optimal performance, combine natural and artificial rubber. As such, you will find natural rubber utilized as a raw material in the following:
- Making clothing items.
- Kid’s toys and equipment such as pacifiers.
- Manufacture of medical gloves.
- Production of motor mounts.
- Rubber bands and balloons use natural rubber.
- Tires for automobiles, bicycles and aircrafts.
Natural Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
Natural Rubber – Source: Wikipedia
Latex – Source: Wikipedia
Synthetic rubber is obtained through artificial means usually from petrochemical derivatives with superior resistance to oils and oxygen. We have different synthetic rubbers whose differences are defined by the chemical composition and manufacturing process.
2. EPDM Rubber
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is an affordable rubber. It tends to be a better replacement for silicone for less demanding applications. EPDM utilizes diene, ethylene and propylene as comonomers facilitated by vulcanization using sulfur and peroxides.
Advantages of EPDM Rubber
There are numerous outstanding features in employing EODM rubber as follows:
- High durability
- Great resistance to heat, and
- It is resistant to ozone and most weather conditions
- Exhibits low electrical conductivity.
- Has low compression set values.
- It is relatively cheap and simple to process.
- Maintains structural integrity even at low temperatures.
- Is unaffected by water, greases and soaps.
- Capable of bonding with metal in a variety of ways.
Disadvantages of EPDM Rubber
There are some limits in employing EPDM rubber in your application.
- Compared to natural rubber, it has lower qualities.
- It can only work well within certain temperature ranges typically -51°C – 149°C.
- It portrays reduced resistance to abrasion.
- It’s resistance to mineral oils is and petroleum products is low.
Applications of EPDM Rubber
Some common uses include:
- Automobile weather stripping.
- Making O-rings, hoses and gaskets.
- Creation of conveyor belts and roller covers.
- Serve as sheets for waterproofing such as on roof tops.
- Providing insulation for wires.
EPDM Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
EPDM Rubber – Source: Wikipedia
3. Styrene Butadiene (SBR) Rubber
SBR rubber is derived through a polymerization process involving styrene and butadiene with the addition of fillers and curatives. A vulcanization process for the resulting polymer follows to make SBR rubber.
SBR rubber can be classified into two depending on the production method: Emulsion SBR (ESBR) and Solution SBR (SSBR). ESBR is a temperature specific derivative whereas SSBR is derived from a solution of hydrocarbon.
SBR has a working temperature range between -46°C and 100°C and employs fillers such as clay, silica, carbon black and calcium carbonate.
Advantages of SBR Rubber
Some of the outstanding features of SBR rubber are:
- Improved heat resistance when substituted for natural rubber.
- Excellent elasticity and elongation property.
- Great resistance to electrical conductivity.
- Has low value compression setting.
- High resistance to non-petroleum fluids such as water and alcohol.
- Superior resistance to abrasion, cracking and tear.
Disadvantages of SBR Rubber
- Exhibits low weather and ozone resistance.
- Its resistance to oil is wanting and easily dissolves in solvent-based fluids.
- SBR’s tensile strength is low.
- When it inflames, it is difficult to put out.
Application of SBR
Several applications of styrene butadiene rubber feature combination with natural rubber.
You can use SBR in:
- Making pneumatic tires and solid wheels.
- Manufacturing rollers and lacrosse balls.
- Roll covers, shoe heels and soles utilize SBR rubber.
- SBR is used in brake pads, bumpers and rollers.
SBR Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
SBR Rubber – Source: Science Direct
4. Neoprene Rubber
You get neoprene rubber by polymerizing chloroprene. That is where it gets the other name – polychloroprene.
Advantages of Neoprene Rubber
Here is why you should consider these types of rubbers for your use::
- Decent chemical stability
- Has a wide working temperature range between – 40°C and 121°C making it highly flexible.
- It is easily bonded to substrates.
- Neoprene is resistant to weather elements such as oxygen and the ozone.
- Offers some resistance to petroleum derived oils.
Disadvantages of Neoprene Rubber
- Succumbs to solvent-based fluids eventually.
- Offers littler resistance to water.
- Offers few outstanding features for its cost.
Applications of Neoprene Rubber
Neoprene can be utilized on its own or combined with some other material. Some common uses of neoprene rubber include:
- Making O-rings, gas hoses and tubes.
- Neoprene is used in laptop sleeves, wetsuits and orthopedic braces.
- Production of seals, cable jackets and gaskets.
- Tire-sidewalls and fan belts for vehicles employ neoprene rubber.
Neoprene Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
Neoprene Rubber – Source: Wikipedia
5. Nitrile Rubber
Nitrile rubber is synthesized form butadiene and acrylonitrile. The working temperature of Nitrile rubber ranges from −40 to 108 °C. A reason this rubber is common in aeronautical applications.
Advantages Nitrile Rubber
You find nitrile rubber useful in the following ways:
- Has low compression set values
- It is highly resilient.
- Its resistance to abrasion and tear is excellent.
- Features exceptional oil, acids and chemicals resistance.
- Shows great material strength.
Disadvantages of Nitrile Rubber
- The drawbacks when utilizing nitrile rubber can be summarized as follows:
- Succumbs from long exposures to heat, weather elements and ozone.
- Its working temperature range is restrained.
- Has high flammability.
Applications of Nitrile Rubber
Some common uses are:
- Floor mats, synthetic leather are nitrile rubber made.
- Its resilience allows use in making disposable gloves for cleaning, laboratory work and medical examination.
- Making V-belts and automobile transmission belts.
- Nitrile rubber finds use as an adhesive and foam component.
- Producing oil resistant footwear
- Production of O-Rings and gaskets for fluid sealing.
Nitrile Rubber – Source: Thomas Net
Nitrile Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
6. Silicone Rubber
Silicone rubber is an elastic polymer constituting silica, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen made via curing using peroxide or platinum catalyst. Silicone rubber costs marginally higher than other rubbers given the high conversion cost from sand (silica).
There are different silicone rubbers as follows:
- Flurosilicone: A premium product featuring better temperature and chemical resistance.
- Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR): Displays increased tensile strength, great heat and pressure tolerance and low viscosity.
- High Consistency Rubber (HCR) Silicone: Features increased hardness, high viscosity, temperature resistance.
- Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) Silicone: Primarily targeted for bonding, coating and sealing operations.
Advantages of Silicone Rubber
Several benefits accrue from using silicone rubber.
- Exhibits decent compression set.
- Its inert quality makes it resistant to changes in feel and color.
- Its sealing property is impressive with a superb excellent tactile.
- Offers great resistance to chemicals and weather.
- Silicone has a high melting point (1,414 °C) making it temperature resistant.
Disadvantages of Silicone Rubber
Some of the drawbacks you consider when selecting silicone rubber include:
- Inadequate resistance to abrasion and tear.
- Low tensile strength.
- Silicone rubber cost fairly higher than other rubbers.
Applications of Silicone Rubber
Silicone has distinctive qualities that make it an essential material in many products industrial wide. These include:
- Finds use in the medical industry making valves, tubes and implants.
- Making automotive seals and gaskets thanks to its high temperature tolerance.
- Silicone rubbers find use in household products such as utensils and baby products like pacifiers.
- The wide working temperatures of silicone rubber allows its use in aerospace applications.
- Where needed, silicone can be made electrically conductive allowing use in electrical applications.
Silicone Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
Silicone Rubber – Source: Science Direct
7. Butyl Rubber
You obtain butyl rubber by combining chlorine and bromine. Butyl rubber can be regular or halogenated, the latter offering better heat and chemical resistance albeit at higher cost.
Advantages of Butyl Rubber
Butyl rubber has some outstanding qualities as follows:
- Biological and chemical inertness.
- Butyl rubber is a good electrical insulator.
- Exceptional; shock absorption and vibration dampening.
- Low moisture and gas permeability.
- Aging resistance, heat resistance, abrasion and tear resistance.
- The vulcanization process of butyl rubber is toxic free.
Disadvantages of Butyl Rubber
When considering butyl rubber as a protective material for your project, weigh out the following limitations:
- Its high cost.
- BR has low resistance to refined oils.
- Its working temperature range is between -51°C and 121°C which is modest.
- The difficulty in processing butyl rubber.
Applications of Butyl Rubber
Some of the many uses of butyl rubber are expressed below:
- Many products with need of absorption of shock utilize butyl rubber.
- Making air-filled products such as tubes for automotive and sports use due to its low permeability.
- Syringes in the medical world employ syringe stoppers in their mechanism fashioned from butyl rubber thanks to their microbial properties.
- Utilized on engine mounts or machine gun decks to dampen vibration.
Butyl Rubber – Source: Thomas Net
Butyl Rubber Sheet – Source: WEPROFAB
8. Fluoroelastomer Rubber
This synthetic rubber type is high performance, sufficient for products exposed to extreme temperatures or fluid presence. Fluoroelastomer Rubber has a working temperature range between -15°C and 199°C.
Advantages of Fluoroelastomer Rubber
Some of the exceptional features of fluoroelastomer rubber allowing its wide usage are:
- Impressive resistance to extreme temperatures and chemicals.
- Low compression set.
- Low gas permeability.
- Invulnerable to ozone manipulation and UV radiation.
Disadvantage of Fluoroelastomer Rubber
- The limitations associated with using fluoroelastomer rubber are:
- It swells in fluorinated environments.
- Incapable of use with alkali metals in either molten or gas state.
- The unique process of making fluoroelastomer rubber makes it costly compared to other rubbers.
Applications of Fluoroelastomer Rubber
You find the following uses for fluoroelastomer rubber:
- Finds industrial application in gaskets for manifolds, firewall seals and bladders for fuel tanks.
- Making fuel hoses, shafts, and other related components for aerospace vehicles susceptible to environmental fluctuations.
- Production of O-rings, gaskets and seals in extreme temperatures and high chemical environments.
- This synthetic rubber finds use in shaft seals and electrical connectors for vehicles especially in high temperature and oily areas.
Flouroelastomers – Source: Science Direct
FKM – Source: UC
9. Polyurethane (AU)
Polyurethane rubbers are produced from diphenylmethane diisocyanate and classified into two main categories: polyether urethanes (EU) and polyester urethanes (AU). Casting of polyurethane rubbers is typically in liquid form requiring less equipment than rubbers produced via pressure molding.
Polyester urethanes (AU) are known for their outstanding elasticity and hardness with a working temperature between -40°C to 90°C. Compared to other rubbers, the lead time in producing polyester urethanes is short with low cost equipment.
Advantages of Polyurethane
Utilizing polyurethane rubbers in your application affords you the following benefits:
- Displays resistance to tearing and abrasion.
- Exhibit resistance to aliphatic solvents, ozone, oxidation, and petroleum products.
- For improved color stability when used outdoors, polyurethane can accommodate color pigments along with UV protection.
- Function incredibly well with excellent elongation and recovery qualities when utilized in application with high flex fatigue.
- Good electrical insulating qualities are possible with polyurethanes.
- Polyurethane is cost-effective as it finds use creating prototypes, one-off product or high-volume repeat runs in a variety of sizes.
- Possesses exceptional tensile strength,
- Strong bonding properties enable combination during manufacture with other materials like plastics and metals.
Disadvantages of Polyurethane
Polyurethane rubbers are encumbered by the following limitations:
- AUs have weak acid and alkali resistance.
- Heat resistance is inadequate.
- In comparison to other rubbers, polyurethane rubbers soften at higher temperatures losing solvent resistance and strength.
- Polyesters can be harmed by high humidity and hot water.
- The creep and compression set qualities are moderate.
- Their good insulation property means electrical conductivity is poor.
- They are also vulnerable to microbial assault.
Applications of Polyurethane
The many outstanding properties of polyurethane rubbers allows their use across various industries as follows:
- AUs are useful in the production of hoses, conveyor belts, diaphragms and reciprocating seals.
- Hydraulic applications for polyurethanes rubbers is thanks to excellent strength, and oil and abrasion resistance.
- Its excellent bonding abilities makes polyurethane rubber the perfect material for inserts, rollers, and wheels.
What is Polyurethane – Source: Polyurethane
Polyurethane – Source: Britannica
10. Hydrogenated Nitrile (HNBR)
Hydration of regular nitrile rubber can be processed to make Hydrogenated Acrylonitrile Butadiene Nitrile Rubber (HNBR). Its characteristics are subject to acrylonitrile content and is popular for its superior mechanical and abrasion resistant qualities.
Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber
Advantages Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber
Several advantages derive form utilizing HNBR. They include:
- Excellent resistance to high temperatures
- Greater chemical and oil resistance than Nitrile rubber
- Displays resistance to ozone, ageing and weathering.
- Exhibits reliable dynamicism at high temperatures with heat resistance capability reaching 140°C.
- Has excellent flexibility at low temperatures.
- HNBR is applicable with steam and hot water.
- HNBR provides outstanding elongation, abrasion resistance, and tensile strength.
- Portrays exceptional resistance to ozone, steam, and chemicals.
- Resists hostile environmental conditions with low compression setting.
Disadvantages of Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber
Like most rubbers, HNBR is not short of a few limitations. Some of these are discussed below:
- HNBR displays incompatibility with scented lubricants and organic solvents.
- HNBR is costly in comparison with similar rubbers expensive.
- It is highly flammable.
- The insulation property of HNBR is wanting.
Application Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber
Some common applications of HNBR are:
- Its mechanical qualities allow automotive application regarding vehicular parts such as static seals and belts.
- HNBR use in industrial applications is especially thanks to its hot water, oils, and abrasion resistance.
- Rubber gaskets and gear box rubber seals are fashioned from HNBR for long term use.
Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber – Source: SBR
11. Polysulfide Rubber (PSR)
Creation of polysulfide rubber was by reacting an organic dichloride with sodium polysulfide. These are crosslinked liquid polymers through oxidizing its thiol groups to disulfide links.
This process utilizes oxidation agents as curing agents like p-quinone dioxime, manganese dioxide and cumene hydroperoxide. Polysulfide rubber has a working temperature range extending from -54°C to +107°C.
Advantages of Polysulfide Rubber (PSR)
Using polysulfide rubbers has the following benefits:
- It is also impermeable and resistant to ozone and oxygen.
- Again, it is flexible at low temperatures and light-resistant.
- It is useful for creating molds with intricate details and complex undercuts.
- PSR has exceptional solvent and flex-crack resistance.
- PSR is extremely supple, elastic, and durable.
Disadvantages of Polysulfide Rubber
Polysulfide rubber is limited in the following circumstances:
- It has an intolerant odor.
- It is not appropriate for resin production casting.
- Polysulfide rubber molds leaves markings on plaster when new.
- Polysulfide rubbers require precise weighted combination with supplementary elastomers for proper function.
- Poor abrasion resistance and tensile strength.
- PSR has moderate mechanical strength, compression set, and heat resistance.
- Their weak abrasion resistance makes them unsuitable for concrete casting.
Applications of Polysulfide
Common uses of PSR are:
- Creating gas meter diaphragms that are gastight.
- Manufacturing tubing that is oil and petroleum resistant.
- Rubberizing storage tanks for fuels.
- Serve as base polymers for adhesives, caulks and sealants in the construction, vehicle and aerospace industries.
Polysulfide – Source: Wikipedia
12. Perfluoroelastomers (FFKM)
Perfluoroelastomers possess a fluorinated backbone and are elastomer equivalent to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The fluorinated backbone has atoms of oxygen that contribute to its elasticity and have ether-dependent fluorine content.
Vulcanization of perfluoroelastomers involves scant quantities of cyano-functional vinyl ethers as a cross-linkable monomer. Perfluoroelastomers have remarkable high temperature resistance reaching 325°C and the best chemical resistance.
The outstanding features of perfluoroelastomers are summarized below:
- Can work with water, polar solvents, organic and inorganic acids, steam, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons.
- Combining the carbon and fluorine atom makes FFKM exhibit the least extractable and off-gassing levels.
- Excellent stability and reliability for abrasive media and static and dynamic applications respectively.
- FFKMs feature high resistance to ozone, steam, and weathering.
- Perfluoroelastomers offer the best resistance to chemicals among synthetic rubbers.
- Possess the largest working temperature range with immense temperature resistance.
- Their extremely low compression set value makes them the go-to-choice when dealing with static and dynamic loads.
- They have reduced gas permeability.
Disadvantages of FFKM
Perfluoroelastomers are limited in the following ways:
- Displays average mechanical properties that are negatively affected by temperature extremities.
- Perfluoroelastomers are pretty expensive.
- Their abrasion resistance is insignificant.
- Their high thermal expansion coefficient can induce significant stress on seals and/or O-rings at high temperatures in case of constrained expansion.
Applications of FFKM
Perfluoroelastomers can be advantageous in the following applications:
- Chemical processing equipment employed in extreme conditions such as high temperatures can utilize perfluoroelastomers in their O-rings, gaskets, and core sleeves.
- Perfluoroelastomers are useful in the chemical industry as seals for reaction columns, chemical etching and fluid handling.
- The exceptional resistance to oils and chemicals, and nonflammability makes it ideal in sealing applications for stator motors and pumps.
- The aerospace sector uses FFKM to create engine seal rings and aircraft piston rings.
- FFKM finds use in heavy-duty machinery where optimal performance is desired for adverse conditions such as valves, pumps, and mechanical seals.
- Exceptional heat, weathering, ozone and chemical resistance makes FFKM highly reliable in automotive applications for gearbox seals, high pressure pumps, and fuel injectors.
FFKM – Source: Wikipedia
13. Polyacrylic Rubber (ACM)
Polyacrylic rubber is created via polymerization either through suspension or emulsion using acrylic monomers. Commonly employed monomers are butyl and ethyl acrylate which can be supplemented with other monomers to enhance mechanical and thermophysical properties.
Advantages of ACM
Using polyacrylic rubber has certain benefits to it described thus:
- Impressive resilience sufficient in addressing vibration damping.
- In comparison to nitrile rubber, polyacrylic rubber has better ozone and weathering resistance.
- It displays thermal stability between -30°C to 150°C capable of reaching 160°C briefly.
- Offers impermeability permeability with low compression set.
- Possesses resistance against mineral, vegetable and animal oils, hydrocarbons and dilute acids.
Disadvantages of ACM
Before selecting polyacrylic rubber you need to consider the following limitations:
- ACM displays relatively low resistance to acids, alkalis, water and moisture.
- Applications at low temperatures are constrained to around -10°C stemming from inflexibility at low temperatures.
- Its elastic capacity is wanting with a moderate rebound resilience.
- Offers moderate refractoriness to fuels.
- Performance at low temperatures is relatively poor.
Applications of ACM
Polyacrylic rubber finds common use as an alternative to premium rubbers such as silicones and fluorocarbons. Some common uses include:
- Manufacture of automotive transmission parts like O-rings, hoses, gaskets, and seals requiring combined heat and chemical resistance.
- Polyacrylic rubber is perfect for components used in stressful and corrosive environment such as engines and oils.
- Projects with need for vibration damping employ polyacrylic rubber.
Acrylic Rubber – Source: Wikipedia
Polyacrylic – Source: WWH
14. Polybutadiene (BR)
One of the most affordable and high-volume rubbers, polybutadiene finds common use as an alternative to natural rubber. It is primarily synthesized in a non-polar solvent, either through coordination polymerization or anionic polymerization of 1,3-butadiene.
Sulfur systems are essential in curing polybutadiene rubbers alongside additives and other polymers thus enhancing its elastomeric qualities.
Advantages of BR
When using polybutadiene rubber, the following outstanding qualities are apparent:
- BR displays high elasticity and resistance to wear.
- Polybutadiene rubber exhibits incredible abrasion resistance in harsh environments.
- The flexibility of BR at optimum temperature conditions is favorable.
Disadvantages of BR
BR has the following notable drawbacks in its usage:
- Double bonds in their polymer backbone are vulnerable to thermal-oxidative decay via ozone assault.
- Polybutadiene rubbers easily succumb to hydrocarbons, gasoline, and oil.
- The synthetic rubber’s thermal and rolling resistance is low.
Applications of BR
Polybutadiene rubber is primarily utilized in tire making, specifically the treads and side walls. It is combined with other rubbers like natural rubber to improve performance characteristics like abrasion resistance, rolling, and traction.
Other uses include:
- Alongside other elastomers, BR finds use in golf ball solid core making.
- Cable insulation and conveyor belts utilize BR.
- Plastic manufacturing uses polybutadiene as toughening agent.
- Polybutadiene rubber is used in manufacturing of footwear.
- Sandblasting hoses employ polybutadiene rubber for its inner tubings.
- Water and pneumatic hose coverings are fashioned from polybutadiene rubber.
Polybutadiene – Source: Wikipedia
BR Rubber – Source: Science Direct
As you can see, there are many types of rubbers you can choose for your business. Whether you want oil resistant, heat resistant or acid resistant rubber, there are unlimited options at your disposal.
For any questions or inquiries on rubber types, contact us now