EPDM sheet rubber is primarily used to make durable industrial parts that are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. EPDM rolls, both solid and cellular, are highly valued materials in industrial settings not only because of the superior environmental resistance factors, but also for its excellent strength and resistance to most industrial chemicals. EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene rubber, is best known for its superior resistance to damaging environmental factors, such as UV rays, ozone, oxygen, and moisture. Although both forms of ethylene propylene diene rubber are excellent outdoor materials, the difference in structures makes them unfit for certain applications. Closed cell EPDM is generally used for compressive applications as it is less dense and more porous than solid EPDM; however, they are both ideal materials for industrial and outdoor usage.
What Does EPDM Stand For?
EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer because they are the main chemical compounds found in its composition. EPDM sheet rubber is a synthetic elastomer that, unlike natural rubber, is made up of a blend of chemicals which give it enhanced strength and resistance properties. Also known as ethylene propylene diene rubber, this synthetic elastomer is mostly known for its excellent outdoor resistance properties and long life even when left outdoors for extended periods of time. Most rubber materials will become damaged after exposed to outdoor conditions, but EPDM sheet rubber is able to stand up well against the damaging effects of harsh UV rays, ozone, and oxygen while also resisting the permeation of moisture. In addition, EPDM sheet rubber retains a moderate level of chemical resistance and is compatible with chemicals including anti-freeze, synthetic detergents, acetone, boric acid, ethanol, formaldehyde, mercury, potassium sulfate, silver nitrate, saccharin, and steam; however, EPDM is not compatible with oil and kerosene. Despite its incompatibility with oil and kerosene, ethylene propylene diene rubber still retains a high working temperature range of -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and is able to provide a sturdy and reliable application in caustic industrial environments.
What is EPDM Made Of?
EPDM is made of chemicals ethylene, propylene, and diene monomers. This mixture of chemicals gives EPDM sheet rubber its superior outdoor resistance properties as well as its other excellent chemical and physical properties. For instance, due to these chemicals, “EPDM elastomers have excellent heat, ozone/weathering, and aging resistance” (polymerdatabase.com). These chemicals come together to form a saturated backbone which gives ethylene propylene diene rubber exceptional resistance to heat, UV rays, and ozone. To clarify, “The main advantage of saturated elastomers, such as EPM and EPDM over their unsaturated counter-parts is the absence of carbon-carbon unsaturation in the main polymer chain, resulting in excellent ozone and heat resistance” (research.utwente.nl). Many, if not most, rubber variations will eventually become damaged when being exposed to ozone for extended periods of time – causing cracks in the material known as “ozone cracks”. This reduces the strength of an application which can lead to hazards in industrial workplaces. For example, “The reaction of a polymer with ozone causes chain scission and oxidation and a steady decline in the (mechanical) properties” (polymerdatabase.com). EPDM sheet rubber is able to resist damaging environmental factors, it is able to be used in harsh industrial applications involving caustic chemicals, UV rays, ozone, and oxygen without failing or being damaged.
1. What is EPDM Rubber Used For?
EPDM rubber is used for industrial and residential applications, such as seals and gaskets, weatherstripping, and thermal/electrical insulation, due to its excellent flexibility, heat resistance, and environmental resistance properties. Both solid and cellular EPDM sheet rubber can be used for any of these applications depending on the level of abrasiveness. Solid EPDM sheet rubber will be better suited for heavy-duty applications whereas its cellular counterpart is more geared towards insulation and highly compressive applications. Regardless of its form, EPDM sheet rubber can be used outdoor without worry of UV or ozone damage; however, open cell EPDM should not be used in wet weather condition or be used in any moisture-related applications due to its high absorption rate. Solid EPDM sheet rubber retains excellent tensile strength, low compression set, and is offered in a 60A durometer hardness rating which allows it to efficiently absorb the force of impact. Cellular EPDM is best used for highly compressive applications because its porous structure allows it to be compressed even further for applications that require a tight seal. Furthermore, due to its cellular structure, open and closed cell EPDM are often used as thermal or electrical insulators.
Industrial Seals and Gaskets
EPDM sheet rubber is a common material used to make industrial seals and gasket due to their outstanding tensile strength, heat resistance, low compression set, resistance to most industrial chemicals, and, for its cellular form, a high degree of compressibility. A gasket is “a mechanical seal which filled the space between two or more mating surfaces” (Wikipedia.org). The main purpose of a gasket is to protect two touching surfaces of machinery or other equipment to prevent damage when colliding with each other while in use. These collisions not only include impacts, but it also protects surfaces from vibrations as well. On the other hand, a seal is “used to prevent leakage, hold pressure, and deflect contamination at interface between components” (fastenengineering.com). Solid EPDM rolls are extremely durable materials that retain a high tensile strength and low compression set making them the ideal material for making heavy-duty seals and gaskets. A solid EPDM seal or gasket is able to stand up well against abrasive applications such as those involving heavy impacts. Contrastingly, cellular EPDM is a highly compressible material, even more so than solid EPDM, due to its matrix of air pockets. Both open and closed cell EPDM are best used for applications that require a tight seal, but open cell EPDM should not be used in moisture-related applications due to its high absorption rate. Closed cell EPDM can be used in moisture-related applications because it has an absorption level of less than 5%, making it an extremely moisture resistant material. An EPDM seal and gasket, whether solid or cellular, will provide a long-lasting application that will not be damaged by heavy impacts, heat, or environmental factors.
EPDM rolls, both solid and closed cell EPDM, are the ideal materials for creating weatherstripping seals due to its resistance to UV rays, ozone, moisture, and abrasive temperatures. Because weatherstripping seals often experience excessive amounts of moisture, open cell EPDM is not recommended for this purpose; however, solid or closed cell EPDM retain the moisture resistance required for weatherstripping. For instance, “Weatherstripping is the process of sealing openings such as doors, windows, and trunks from the elements…The goal of weatherstripping is to prevent rain and water from entering entirely or partially and accomplishes this by either returning or rerouting water. A secondary goal of weatherstripping is to keep interior air in, thus saving energy on heating and air conditioning” (Wikipedia.org). An EPDM weatherstrip is the superior choice of sealing because it will resist degradation by outdoor environments and factors, such as direct sunlight, ozone, and moisture. An open cell EPDM weatherstrip will not make an effective seal due to its high absorption rate; however, they can be used for dry sealing. Closed cell EPDM is the ideal material for weatherstrips due to its compressibility as well as its absorption level of less than 5%. A solid EPDM weatherstrip is able to withstand temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 212 degrees Fahrenheit making it impervious to abrasive temperatures. Furthermore, despite its cellular matrix, closed cell EPDM is also resistant to abrasive temperatures ranging from -40 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. An EPDM weatherstrip will provide a long-lasting application that will not be affected by ozone cracking, the permeation of moisture, and abrasive temperatures.
Due to its wide operating temperature range of -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, EPDM sheet rubber is able to provide reliable thermal and electrical insulation. Cellular EPDM sheet rubber is the material that is most often used for thermal and electrical purposes compared to solid EPDM. Closed cell EPDM in particular, is often used for insulating parts, such as wires or pipes, due to its better flexibility as well as its high degree of moisture resistance. The flexibility of cellular EPDM sheet rubber allows it to be wrapped around wire and pipes with ease and its impermeable structure protects electric wires from moisture. Additionally, like EPDM weatherstrip, cellular EPDM rolls can provide excellent insulation for homes and home appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and radiators. For instance, “As a durable elastomer, EPDM is conformable, impermeable, and a good insulator” (Wikipedia.org). Not only will EPDM provide protective insulation, but it also prevents moisture from permeating through the material and causing industrial workplace hazards.
EPDM rolls are popular materials used in industrial and outdoor settings due to its superior resistance to environmental factors as well as its ability to absorb the force of impact and resist abrasions. EPDM sheet rubber is primarily used to create industrial grade rubber parts, such as seals, gaskets, and weatherstrips, due to these chemical and physical properties. An EPDM weatherstrip will provide a long-lasting and durable application in the face of UV rays, ozone, and abrasive temperatures. In addition, closed cell EPDM retains a high level of moisture resistance, allowing it to be used in the outdoors. Due to their difference in structures, solid and cellular EPDM sheet rubber are often used for different applications; however, they are both resilient materials that are designed to last.