How Temperature Extremities Affects Rubber Seals?
How Temperature Extremities Affects Rubber Seals?

How Temperature Extremities Affects Rubber Seals?

Feb 16, 2022 Rubber Seals | Material | Silicone
Rubber seals are used in a wide range of industries, from medical, food processing, pharmaceutical and automotive to construction. They have excellent sealing properties, and can perfectly withstand harsh conditions like high temperatures, chemicals, and UV light. The performance of the rubber seal depends on the environment in which it is used. For example, a rubber seal that works well at room temperature may not work at very low or high temperatures. The reason for this is that the characteristics of a rubber seal change with temperature. Rubber’s properties change as it gets heated, which may lead to leakage or failure of the seal when used in applications where they may be exposed to ambient temperatures. So how temperature affects the performance of rubber seals? Read the post to know about it.  

Temperature and its Effects on Rubber Seals

Temperature impacts the life of a rubber seal. The temperature range in which it operates is critical to its life expectancy, and how well it performs. It is important that the rubber seal used in an application with extreme temperatures must be designed for that temperature range. Rubber is made up of several chemical bonds that keep the material flexible. Each bond has a different length, which means the rubber will change shape when you apply force to it. Heat and pressure cause those chemical bonds to break, which results in lost elasticity. Overall, rubber seals that are exposed to thermal stress will lose their flexibility and elasticity over time.

Rubber, like most other materials, has a temperature range in which it works the best. These temperatures vary by the type of rubber material used in the seal. Some have working ranges as low as -40 degrees and others can go as high as 150 degrees. When the temperature range is exceeded, the rubber will become brittle and lose its flexibility. The seal will no longer be able to fulfill its intended purpose, and thus demand replacement.

Choosing the Right Material is Crucial

There are different types of rubber seals and they each have their own unique characteristics. For example, there are natural rubber seals, silicone rubber seals, and nitrile rubber seals. Silicone rubber seals are the most durable and heat resistant of the three. They have a high resistance to heat and will not crack or break down over time. The selection of the right material and seal design is critical in order to ensure that they can resist temperature variations and last over a long period of time. The following are a few amongst the most popularly used rubber materials for making seals that get exposed to varying temperature ranges.

•    Silicone: This type of rubber seal is suited for heavy-duty applications. It is suitable for applications with high temperatures, as it has the ability to withstand high temperatures up to 600°F. Other than that, silicone can resist ultraviolet radiation. It is commonly used in high-temperature ovens, heat exchangers, furnaces, nuclear power plants, and gas turbines.

•    Nitrile: This material is commonly used for building industrial seals, gaskets and O-rings. Nitrile rubber seals are used in extreme temperature environments, up to 350ºF. Nitrile seal made of nitrile rubber can resist a broad range of chemicals, including oils, fats and many organic compounds. It can resist sunlight and weathering.
•    Viton: Viton rubber seals are a type of industrial seals with a large number of applications in the oil and gas industry. They are used in high-pressure and high-temperature applications, such as oil wells and pipelines. They are also used in applications that require resistance to a variety of chemicals, including oils, solvents, and acids. It also has a higher resistance to wear than other types of conventional rubber seals. Owing to these properties and excellent thermal resistance, seals made from Viton rubber are used in modern cars as an engine oil seal, water pump seal and a timing belt seal.

•    EPDM: Rubber seals made from EPDM, which is a synthetic rubber, is highly resistant to heat and chemicals. This type of rubber seal works perfectly for any application that is exposed to very high temperatures such as in a car engine bay or hot water heating systems for example.

•   Aflas®: Aflas® rubber seals are the ideal sealing solution for a number of industries. They are a highly durable, flexible, and dependable product that has excellent resistance to heat and weather conditions. Aflas® seals also have a low compression set over time, and are unaffected by many chemicals. This is why they are used in pumps, motors, valves, and many other applications.

With that being said, it is very important for industrial rubber seal manufacturers to understand how temperature differences affect the performance of rubber seals. It is also crucial for them to know how temperature changes will affect the life of their seals. Hence, in order to get the rightly manufactured rubber seals for your applications, it is highly recommended to get them done from expert seal manufacturer like SSP Seals. With several years of experience in the field, the team at SSP Seals is aware of the properties and behaviors of rubber materials they are working on. With such an expert in hand, you would be able to get the best performing rubber seals for high-temperature applications.

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