Gasket Compression in Metal Housings and Assemblies

Gasket CompressionGasket compression in metal housings and assemblies can support sealing or contribute to gasket failure. That’s because rubber gaskets are resilient, but only to a point. Compressing a gasket within allowable limits forms a reliable seal. When a gasket is over-compressed, however, the rubber won’t rebound when the compressive stresses are removed. This creates a gap between the gasket and the surface of the housing or assembly. Gaps cause leaks, and seals that leak won’t support your designs.

Material scientists calls the permanent deformation of the gasket material “compression set”, a term that’s used widely but not always fully understood. Engineers need to know the basics of compression set, but they also need to consider its limitations as a test method. With housings and assemblies, it’s essential to account for the entire application environment, including variables such as temperature and vibration. Relaxation, a related phenomenon, is also associated with gasket compression. (more…)

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Flame Retardant Rubber for Vehicle Interiors and Electronic Enclosures

Flame Retardant RubberFlame retardant rubber helps to protect people and property from the devastating effects of fire. By stopping or slowing the spread of flame, these elastomers reduce the rate and intensity of burning. They can also limit the release of smoke and toxins while increasing the amount of time that people have to escape from life-threatening situations. Applications for these specialized compounds include electronic enclosures and the interiors of buses, trains, and subways.

For engineers, it’s important to understand that all flame retardant rubber is not the same. There are different classes of flame retardants, chemicals that are added or applied during compounding. There are also different flammability standards by industry and within the same industry. For example, the mass transit industry has so many different flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) standards that simply asking for an “FST compound” or “flame retardant rubber” risks getting you the wrong material. (more…)

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UL Gasket Materials for Flame Resistance and Ingress Protection

UL Gasket MaterialsUL gasket materials can provide flame resistance, ingress protection, or other specialized properties. For engineers, it’s important to understand what the different standards from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mean. It’s also worth knowing if UL gasket materials are truly required in your component-level designs. Otherwise, you may “over-engineer” your gaskets and pay too much for materials.

Compared to commodity elastomers, the prices for UL compounds are higher. The minimum order quantities (MOQs) are greater, too. In the case of rubber extrusions, the compounder has to use special tooling to account for different flow rates. The number of suppliers who offer UL materials is also limited. Unless you really need them, UL gasket materials can add unnecessary expenses to your application.

Of course, some sealing and insulation projects require UL gasket materials to meet specific requirements. In this blog entry, the first in our September series about compound selection, Elasto Proxy explains what engineers need to know about UL gaskets for flame resistance and ingress protection. These aren’t the only UL standards for gaskets, but they’re the most common – and they can be confusing. (more…)

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EMI Shielding Gaskets for Military Electronics

emi shielding gasketsEMI shielding gaskets for military electronics are used in everything from touchscreens to targeting systems. To prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI) from disrupting electronic equipment, Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates EMI shielding gaskets from particle-filled silicones. These specialized materials combine the materials properties of silicone rubber with the electrical properties of metal. Elasto Proxy uses waterjet cutting to convert shielding silicones, and bonds cut lengths with conductive adhesives.

EMI gaskets from Elasto Proxy meet the requirements of MIL-DTL-83528, a U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) specification for electrically-conductive elastomeric shielding gaskets. MIL-DTL-83528 establishes minimum shielding effectiveness levels for various material types over a frequency range of 20 MHz to 10 GHz. MIL-DTL-83528 also specifies hardness or durometer (Shore A) measurements for shielding silicones that are categorized as low, medium, or high durometer. (more…)

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Gensets: Door Seals, Acoustic Insulation, and Rubber Bumpers

GensetsGensets or generating sets are designed to supply off-grid electricity. They usually consist of a diesel or gasoline-powered engine and an electrical generator (such as an alternator) that converts mechanical power into electricity. Some gensets, such as the ones that provide emergency backup power at hospitals and water treatment plants, are large and stationary. Others gensets are portable because they’re wheeled, or are mounted on wheeled trailers that are pulled by trucks or other motorized vehicles. (more…)

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EMI Gaskets for Electronic Devices and Equipment

EMI GasketsEMI gaskets help to protect electronic devices and equipment against disruptions and disturbances caused by electromagnetic interference (EMI). Because these shielding gaskets are made of particle-filled silicones, they also provide environmental sealing and resist a wide range of service temperatures. Depending on the durometer, the base elastomer supports varying degrees of compression. The metal or metal-coated particles provide EMI shielding and electrical conductivity.

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates EMI gaskets for medical, military, mass transit, and many other applications, including aerospace. With our water jet cutting capabilities, we supply low-to-medium volume quantities of custom EMI gaskets with no tooling costs. In addition to flat connector gaskets, we manufacture EMI shielding gaskets from extruded materials. Water jet cutting isn’t just cost-effective. It’s also fast and precise, making it a great choice for prototypes. (more…)

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Why Robots Need Rubber and Plastic Parts

Robots Video | Rubber and Plastic Parts
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Rubber and plastic parts for robots are strong, lightweight, durable, and cost-effective. That’s not all.

When you were a kid, did you play with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Part toy and part game, this childhood classic features two boxers – both robots – that are mechanically manipulated by the players. The Red Rocker and the Blue Bomber have been hitting each other since the 1960s, but today’s version of this simulated boxing match features less metal and more plastic. Plastics are generally lighter and cheaper than metals, but is plastic really tough enough for robots – even toy ones? Is rubber right for robots, too?

The answers may surprise you. (more…)

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