Custom EPDM gaskets are made of extruded or molded EPDM rubber and fabricated into finished parts for sealing and insulation. These industrial rubber products can be water jet cut from sheets or profiles of solid, sponge, or foam materials that come in commodity and specialty grades. Gasket fabrication also involves bonding or splicing for finished joints or corners, and adhesive taping for peel-and-stick gasket installation.
Custom EPDM gaskets are a great choice for environmental sealing. They also provide good thermal and electrical insulation. Yet this type of rubber seal won’t withstand petroleum products or concentrated acids. Before choosing EPDM gaskets then, it’s important to understand the advantages of disadvantages of EPDM rubber, as well as the available types and grades of EPDM materials. Elasto Proxy fabricates custom EPDM gaskets and invites industrial buyers to request a quote.
Advantages of EPDM Rubber for Sealing and Insulation
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) resists sunlight, ozone, oxygen, aging, acids, alkalis, water, and severe weather conditions. This odor-free elastomer also provides excellent color stability and high heat resistance. Typically, service temperatures range from -70° C to 250° C. All EPDM rubber isn’t the same, so differences in ethylene content and the dienes that are used can affect physical properties.
EPDM generally provides good tensile strength and elasticity. Tensile strength, the resistance to breaking under tension, is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). With EPDM, typical values are in the 1000 PSI range. Elasticity, a measure of a material’s ability to resume its normal shape after being stretched or compressed, is expressed as a percentage. With EPDM, this percentage is typically in the 300% range.
Disadvantages of EPDM Rubber for Custom Gaskets
The main disadvantage of EPDM is its unsatisfactory resistance to certain categories of chemicals. In addition to gasoline, diesel fuel, and motor oil, EPDM is not recommended for use with synthetic diester oils – lubricants found in some types of industrial machinery. EPDM also provides unsatisfactory resistance to Freon, a category of fluorocarbons that are used as refrigerants.
Custom EPDM seals are sometimes used instead of silicones, nitriles, or thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). Silicones can withstand lower and higher temperatures, but they lack EPDM’s resistance to abrasion, cutting, and tearing. EPDM also provides better tensile strength. For resistance to fuels, greases, and oils, nitrile is a better choice.
Types and Grades of EPDM Gasket Materials
EPDM rubber is molded into sheets or extruded into profiles with different durometers (hardness). Most EPDM materials have a durometer of 40 to 90 (Shore A). Lower durometer EPDM is softer and provides cushioning but is more prone to compression set, a permanent deformation that can result in seal failure. Higher durometer EPDM is harder and provides impact resistance. It’s like a hockey puck instead of a pencil eraser.
Sponge Rubber vs. Solid Rubber
Custom EPDM gaskets are made from either sponge rubber or solid rubber. At its most basic level, the difference is about air. Sponge rubber contains balloon-like cells or interconnected pockets. Open-cell EPDM sponge rubber permits the passage of gases or air. Closed-cell EPDM sponge rubber does not. Solid rubber doesn’t have this cellular structure.
Commodity Rubber vs. Specialty Rubber
Custom EPDM seals that are made from commodity rubber provide good resistance to hot and cold water, saturated steam, or outdoor environments. Higher-grade EPDM rubber offers enhanced material properties and may be recommended for better compression set. Specialty rubber may be required if your application must comply UL 94 or FDA standards.
Flame Resistant and FDA-Approved EPDM
UL 94 EPDM gaskets are made of flame-retardant rubber that meets specific burn tests such as V-0, V-1, and V-2. Some compounds are halogen-free. Custom gaskets made of UL-rated EPDM sponge rubber also provide good sealing and moderate-to-good cushioning. FDA-approved EPDM gaskets are used in food contact applications and medical devices. Not all food-grade rubber is FDA-approved, however.
Where to Buy Custom EPDM Gaskets
Do you need custom EPDM gaskets? Do you have questions about EPDM rubber’s advantages or disadvantages? Are you looking for specific EPDM types or grades? Elasto Proxy fabricates low-to-medium volume quantities of custom EPDM gaskets for manufacturers. We keep hundreds of EPDM profiles in stock, use water jet cutting to convert them to size, and offer a choice of gasket bonding methods. We can also tape your gaskets for ease of installation and kit them in order of assembly.
To request a quote, contact Elasto Proxy.