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Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Weekly posts for northern and central Alberta engineers, plant operators, and buyers.

Elastomers 101

by Luke Wurban, on Fri, Jun 14, 2019 @ 09:06 AM

With all of the different chemical and material combinations available, it can be difficult to ensure you have the proper elastomer for your application


Elastomer With Arrows

Account manager Adam Telenko explains some of the most important variables to consider when choosing the right elastomer. Most of the criteria to consider might not even be on your radar, but we're here to help guide you through it. 

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What is an elastomer? 

An elastomer is a polymer that has elastic properties which are used in our fittings, valves, and threaded connections to help seal components together. To choose the correct elastomer for your application, there are some important considerations to be made regarding an elastomer’s flexibility, durability, and chemical resistance to the media it will be exposed to. Failure to consider the proper elastomer can be very costly through leakage and improper sealing of system components. We're here to help you through the process to ensure you get the proper fit for your application. 

There are a wide range of elastomer materials on the market. At Edmonton Valve & Fitting, we deal with these materials most regularly:

  • PTFE: Polytetrafluoroethylene – known brand name is Chemours’ Teflon
  • Virgin PTFE: made with pure PTFE resin without any recycled materials (extremely chemical resistant)
  • FKM: is a vinylidene fluoride – originally developed by Dupont. Tradename is Viton
  • FFKM: Perfluoro elastomers – known brand name is Dupont’s Kalrez
  • EPDM: ethylene propylene a type of synthetic rubber
  • Neoprene: a type of synthetic rubber with chloroprene
  • Buna N: a type of synthetic rubber, also referred to as Nitrile

Ever wonder what factors cause elastomer failure?

These should all be considered when making the choice on which material will best perform in your system to prevent failures:

  • High Temperature: oxidative attacks can cause premature failure, and/or lead to thermal degradation
  • Low Temperature: elastomers can lose flexibility and the ability to respond to a reactive force. This occurs when an elastomer approaches its glass transition temperature 
  • Pressure: Explosive Decompression (ED) of the elastomer may occur, causing fissuring and seal failure
  • Chemical Attack: swelling or shrinking, blistering, cracking, change in hardness, or discolouration may occur
  • Abrasion: excessive wear, lacerations, or breaking
  • Seal Contamination: particulates may interfere with sealing and re-sealing capabilities 

Let's "seal the deal", download the latest Swagelok Tube Fitter’s Manual to access chemical capability charts and other valuable resources. If you have any questions, please give us a call for direct support at 780-437-0640 or send us a note through the "Message Us" link below.

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Topics:Cost SavingsResourcesValvesFittings

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