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Rubber Compounds: Choosing the Best Material for your Application

By CRGI on

rubber compoundsCRG fabricates a wide variety of end-use products from an array of materials. A common material category we work with is rubber compounds. Rubber compounds are used to fabricate gaskets and seals, as well as to produce custom cut parts, for industrial and automotive applications. Because the range of applications for products made from rubber compounds varies widely, choosing the right compound is critical for ensuring that the final product will support all the application requirements. In this blog, we highlight commonly used rubber compounds and present the general properties of each.

An introduction to rubber compounds

A synthetic, or engineered, rubber compound is composed of many different ingredients that include the base monomer, vulcanization agents, modifiers, fillers and plasticizers. A compound consists of specific ingredients, mixed in a ratio, and blended into a formulation that offers specific desirable chemical and mechanical properties. Ingredients that are used in most rubber compounds include polymers, fillers, antioxidants, oils, plasticizers and curing agents. Because rubber compounds exhibit elastic properties, meaning they recover their original shape after being stretched, they are often referred to as “elastomers”.

Rubber compounds are categorized into families according to the base polymer used in each compound’s formulation. The basic properties and characteristics of commonly used compounds are shown in the table below.

As noted above, rubber compounds exhibit a wide range of properties resulting from differences in each material’s formulation. Rubber compounds that CRG supplies are capable of servicing a diverse range of temperatures (from -73°C to +650°C), and many are available in a wide range of durometers (40 – 80 Shore A) and thicknesses (1/32” – 2”). Rubber compounds we supply include neoprene (CR), nitrile (NBR), SBR, silicone (VMQ), EPDM, natural rubber (NR), fluorocarbon (FKM), and others.

General properties of rubber compounds and elastomers

Choosing the best rubber compound for your application means understanding, evaluating, and comparing the properties and characteristics of the various compounds available. In some cases, the application requirements can be satisfied by more than one compound. In these situations, choosing the optimal material will require evaluating the trade-offs between costs and the relevant performance criteria.

The table below shows the properties of some rubber compounds commonly used to produce end-use products for various types of applications. Readers should note that this table provides general guidance only, and that different formulations or grades of the same material may have different properties – for example, Viton® (FKM) will support lower temperatures in dynamic applications down to about -20°C. CRG always recommends that buyers test any compound they select in their application to ensure that the compound fully satisfies all the application requirements.

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Rubber compounds from CRG

CRG maintains an extensive inventory of rubber compounds from leading material manufacturers. Our stock includes all standard elastomers, as well as advanced elastomers used to produce end-use products for specialized applications in industrial, automotive and other markets. Using these compounds, we fabricate a wide range of end-use products, including gaskets and seals, custom cut parts, and more. We also have customers who buy rubber compounds from us by the roll or sheet, or cut to size.

With over 30-years’ experience, CRG’s sales team can advise buyers on the preferred compound for their application. We can handle all aspects of the product realization process, from design assistance, to prototyping, and final part production. All parts we make from rubber compounds are produced on the latest CNC equipment in our facility registered to ISO 9001:2015, ensuring final part quality and tolerancing. For more information on the rubber compounds and end-use products we can supply, please contact our sales team at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.