EPDM sheets are important materials that are often used for industrial applications in outdoor settings. Their environmental resistance properties allow them to provide reliable applications in outdoor conditions which reduces the chances of workplace hazards. The chemical compounds used in its production gives ethylene propylene elastomer is the superior weather resistant properties. EPDM rubber manufacturers are able to control the physical and chemical properties of EPDM sheets by controlling the amount of each chemical used in their production. In addition, not only is an EPDM part resistant to outdoor environments, but it is also highly resistant to most caustic industrial chemicals allowing it to be used in chemically related applications. Overall, EPDM products are the best and most trusted products for outdoor usage due to its environmental and chemical resistance properties which can help avoid dangerous workplace hazards.
What Type of Rubber is EPDM?
EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber that is known for its superior resistance to UV rays, ozone, and oxygen as well as most industrial chemical solvents. Unlike natural rubber, which is harvested from natural plant material, EPDM sheets are made using a blend of chemical compounds that are strengthened and made solid through the process of vulcanization. The chemicals used in the production of EPDM sheets give it the capability of resisting outdoor weather conditions. For this reason, EPDM sheets are commonly used to produce outdoor industrial rubber parts. As a case in point, “The major engineering properties of EPDM are its outstanding heat, ozone, and weather resistance ability” (sciencedirect.com). Due to these properties of ethylene propylene elastomer, it is commonly used as vehicle sealants that are designed to last for years, even when left outdoors for extended periods of time, whereas natural rubber would deteriorate under direct sunlight and ozone. EPDM sheets are fairly dense and hard synthetic rubber materials that are suitable for physically demanding or outdoor applications.
What Does EPDM Mean?
EPDM means Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which are the chemicals, or monomers, used in the production of synthetic EPDM sheets. The monomers found in the composition of EPDM sheets are blended together and are then put through the process of vulcanization to create a solid rubber-like material. They determine the physical and chemical properties of EPDM. For instance, “EPDM is a semi-crystalline material with ethylene-type crystal structures at higher ethylene contents, becoming essentially amorphous at ethylene contents that approach 50 wt%” (wikipedia.org). To further clarify, an amorphous polymer retains excellent flexibility at a wide temperature range (polymerdatabase.com). This means that ethylene propylene elastomer is a highly flexible and pliable material that is able to retain its flexibility in the face of abrasive temperatures. In addition to flexibility, the ethylene and propylene content in EPDM sheets give them their unique environmental resistance properties that allow an EPDM part to be used and left outdoors for extended periods of time without suffering damage.
What Size Does EPDM Come In?
EPDM is available in two set lengths of 20 feet and 50 feet and are also available in precut sizes and thicknesses. EPDM rubber manufacturers generally offer EPDM sheets in a wide selection of gauge thicknesses of 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 of an inch; however, oftentimes, custom gauges are also available upon request. Additionally, EPDM sheets are offered in a set width of 36 inches, but custom widths of up of 78 inches are available upon request. The wide range of sizes and thicknesses allows you to choose which size is best suited for your project. Furthermore, because EPDM sheets are common materials used in the production of industrial seals and gaskets, EPDM rubber manufacturers are also able to custom cut industrial parts according to the specifications given by the customer.
Why is EPDM Important?
EPDM is an important material due to its superior resistance to outdoor damaging factors. EPDM sheets are valued for their excellent outdoor life and is the best option for outdoor applications, whether it be for industrial or residential use. Unlike other rubber variations, such as natural gum or synthetic nitrile rubber, EPDM sheets will not be affected by direct sunlight, oxidation, or ozone. Oftentimes, rubber materials that are not suitable for outdoor use are attacked by UV rays and ozone which cause its color to fade as well as cause cracks within the material called “ozone cracks”. The ozone in the air will break down the material’s composition and will weaken the application of most rubber products which may lead to workplace hazards. An EPDM part will not be affected by ozone and will provide a reliable application that will not be affected by ozone. In addition, EPDM products are highly resistant to chemicals which further broadens the versatility of an EPDM part. EPDM sheets are the most weatherproof rubber variations available, and they will produce durable and reliable industrial EPDM products that are able to stand up well against the damaging forces of nature despite being left outdoors for extended periods of time.
What is EPDM Made of?
EPDM, also known as ethylene propylene elastomer, is made of ethylene, propylene, and diene monomers, hence the acronym of the elastomer’s name. These chemical monomers used in the production of EPDM sheets regulate their chemical and physical properties. Its most notable resistance properties are seen in its reaction to damaging outdoor factors, such as UV rays, oxidation, and ozone. For example, “Regular diene polymers, such as natural rubber or styrene-butadiene rubber, have many double bonds in the main chain, so when one double bond is attacked, the entire molecule is broken. EPDM, with the double bonds located in the side groups, is much less susceptible to degradation by weathering and sunlight” (Britannica.com). In addition, the ratio of the ethylene and diene content used in the production of EPDM sheets establishes the elastomer’s physical and chemical properties. To further explain, high ethylene and diene content will produce an elastomer with good strength, high tensile strength, high operating temperature range, and a good compression set whereas a low content of these monomers produces a softer and less durable material (iisrp.com). Therefore, the monomers used in the production of EPDM sheets play a large role in the elastomer’s physical and chemical properties.
Does EPDM Contain Latex?
EPDM does not contain latex because it is a synthetic rubber made of a mixture of ethylene, propylene, and diene monomers. Latex is a material that is harvested from the Hevea brasiliensis tree to create natural gum rubber. Unlike natural gum, ethylene propylene elastomer is a chemically engineered elastomer that used as blend of chemicals to achieve the elastic consistency of rubber. For instance, “Ethylene-propylene rubbers use the same chemical building blocks or monomers as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) thermoplastic polymers. These…monomers are combined in a random manner to produce rubbery and stable polymers” (iisrp.com). Latex is a natural liquid material that is then blended with strengthening agents and goes through the vulcanization process to transform the material into a solid material (natural gum rubber). Ethylene propylene elastomer is a synthetic rubber whose properties are largely controlled by the levels of ethylene or diene content; therefore, “decreasing ethylene content decreases crystallinity and associated properties such as hardness and modulus” (iisrp.com). Due to EPDM’s chemically based composition, it does not contain latex that is normally harvested and used to create natural gum rubber.
Does EPDM Burn?
As a carbon-based material, EPDM can easily burn when exposed to an open flame. Although EPDM sheets are highly heat resistant materials, they are not flame retardant which makes them susceptible to catching fire when coming into contact with flames. For instance, “A vital drawback for nearly all polymeric materials including EPDM is its flammability, which restricts the range of their application. Particularly, EPDM being purely hydrocarbon can easily catch fire. For example, in the case of the application of EPDM in the electrical field, overheating in conduits as a result of an imperfect connection could cause a fire” (pubs.rsc.org). An industrial EPDM part is best suited for high temperature applications that do not involve open flames because it is highly susceptible to catching fire. Although EPDM products are flammable, they can still stand up well against and will provide an application even when subjected to extreme heat.
Does EPDM Melt?
EPDM has a high working temperature range of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, making it extremely difficult to melt. EPDM products are highly heat-resistant rubber parts that are able to provide a reliable application in high temperature applications. For instance, EPDM sheets are “resistant to many polar fluids, hot water and steam up to 200°C [392 degrees Fahrenheit] (in the presence of air)” (polymerdatabase.com). In addition, EPDM sheets will resist aging caused by constant exposure to extreme heat. Despite EPDM’s excellent heat resistance, it is not a flame retardant material and should not be subjected to applications where an EPDM part could come into contact with an open flame. EPDM products, such as industrial seals and gaskets, will perform well when exposed to high temperatures or hot liquids; however, open flames will damage the material.
What is the Best Glue for EPDM?
The best glue for EPDM is urethane adhesives, such as polyurethane glue. Because EPDM is an elastomer, it is important to find a glue that will not hinder the elastomer’s flexibility or pliability. To clarify, “Reactive urethane adhesives re available as 100% solids or as solvent based systems and as one or two part adhesives. Unlike epoxies, polyurethanes can be formulated to be extremely flexible. They form tough bonds with high peel strength and medium to high shear strength. Since they are very flexible, they are often an excellent choice to bond films, foils, and elastomers” (polymerdatabase.com). Flexibility is an important factor to consider when choosing which glue is best for your application. Furthermore, since EPDM sheets are notoriously known for its excellent outdoor life, it is important to use an adhesive that will not deteriorate when exposed to outdoor environments. Polyurethane glue is a fairly weatherproof adhesive that is able to resist moisture and remain a firm application in outdoor environments. Due to its flexibility and moisture resistance, polyurethane adhesives will provide a sturdy application.
As the most weather resistant rubber, EPDM sheets are highly valued materials for creating resilient industrial EPDM products. EPDM rubber manufacturers used a blend of ethylene, propylene, and diene monomers to create an environmentally resistant synthetic rubber. Not only is it resistant to damaging environmental forces, but it is also resistant to industrial solvents, abrasive temperatures, and moisture. An EPDM part is designed to provide a long-lasting and durable outdoor industrial application. Furthermore, EPDM sheets are easily installed using a polyurethane adhesive that will allow it to flex and move without tearing as well as offer a waterproof installation.