Choosing the right rubber material

Selecting the best elastomer for an application requires a thorough understanding of the application and performance requirements.

Choosing the right material can be a daunting task. However, the first step is to pre-determine the conditions to which the end product will be exposed. Some of these include:

  • Temperature and other environmental factors
  • Physical, mechanical and chemical resistance requirements
  • Industry standards requirements such as UL, ASTM, SAE, FDA, NSF and U.S. Military Standards



The initial compound is essential to the entire design process. A small change to the accelerators or age resistors, and the finished compound meets or misses standard industry requirements.

Most rubber polymers have limited commercial value in their original state. Therefore, a compound “recipe” must be developed to enhance or add to a polymer’s inherent physical and chemical characteristics and to ensure efficient molding or extruding. In creating the proper recipe, a compounder needs to be aware of a number of chemical or technological factors:

  • The customer’s technical specifications
  • Individual polymer properties
  • Additives that can alter price, processing and vulcanizing/curing systems
  • Anti-degradants
  • Mixing procedures
  • Testing/quality assurance methods