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FKM Rubber: Exploring the Versatility & Performance

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Fluoroelastomer (FKM, or Viton®) rubber is a high-performance synthetic rubber that is known for its excellent resistance to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and fuels. It is widely used in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and chemical industries. In this blog, we will take a closer look at FKM rubber and its various applications.


What is FKM Rubber?

Custom FKM Fluoroelastomer O-rings of any size


Fluorocarbons are available in a wide range of elastomers, where the fluorine content greatly affects the physical and chemical properties of the material. In general, FKM compounds exhibit excellent mechanical attributes as well as excellent resistance to high temperatures, mineral oil, ozone, fuels, hydraulic fluids, and many other solvents and chemicals. FKM polymers are widely used in chemical, automotive, aerospace and industrial applications. The properties of Fluorocarbon compounds differ significantly based on their composition. Often increased fluid resistance comes at the cost of a slight decrease in compression set or low temperature resistance. Common names include: FKM (Fluorocarbon), Fluoropolymer. Trade Names: Viton®, Fluorel®, Technoflon®, Dai-El®.


If you’re interested in learning more, check out our FKM page.


Properties of FKM Rubber


FKM rubber has several unique properties that make it an ideal material for a wide range of applications, including:


  1. High-Temperature Tolerance: FKM rubber can withstand high temperatures without degrading or losing its properties, making it ideal for high-temperature applications.

  2. Excellent Chemical Resistance: FKM rubber has excellent resistance to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, fuels, mineral and vegetable oils and greases, aliphatic, aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, non-flammable hydraulic fluids (HFD) and many organic solvents and chemicals

  3. Good Compression Set Resistance: FKM rubber has excellent resistance to compression set, which means it can maintain its shape and sealing ability over a long period of time.

  4. High Performance: FKM rubber offers high performance in terms of durability, wear resistance, and tear resistance. FKM has excellent resistance to ozone, weather, and aging, and also has low gas permeability.


Types of specialty FKM Rubber


FKM rubber is available in various specialty formulations, each designed to offer specific properties and performance characteristics. Let's explore the different types:


  1. Type A FKM: Type A FKM rubber is the most common type. In this blog, the performance of all other types of FKM will compare back to Type A. Type A is a general-purpose grade with good resistance to chemicals and heat. It exhibits excellent compression set resistance, making it suitable for applications with sealing requirements.

  2. Type B FKM: Type B FKM rubber is a terpolymer grade and offers improved processing and rheology. It retains excellent chemical resistance and is commonly used in producing more complex geometries, fuel hoses, tubing, O-rings, and gaskets.

  3. Type F FKM: Type F FKM rubber is a specialty grade known for its superior fluid resistance, especially against fuels, strong acids, bases, and solvents. It is often utilized in automotive applications, chemical processing, petrochemical, and oil and gas industries.

  4. Type GF FKM: GF FKM rubber is a grade with a high fluorine content that further increases the materials chemical resistance and resistance to steam.

  5. Type GLT FKM: GLT FKM rubber is a low-temperature FKM and is specifically formulated for applications requiring excellent low-temperature flexibility. It maintains its sealing properties even in extreme cold environments as low as -40°C, making it suitable for aerospace, refrigeration, and cryogenic applications.

  6. Type GFLT FKM: GFLT FKM rubber combines the low temperature properties of type GLT FKM with the improved chemical resistance of type GF FKM. It provides a balance of low-temperature flexibility and chemical resistance, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

  7. Type XLT FKM: XLT FKM rubber, or extreme low-temperature FKM, offers similar performance and chemical resistance to a standard GFLT. However, XLT is designed to perform in even more intensely cold environments, down to -48°C. It exhibits exceptional low-temperature flexibility and is commonly used in applications such as automotive fuel systems and aerospace seals.

  8. Type ULT FKM: ULT FKM rubber, or ultra-low-temperature FKM, extends even further with its low temperature capabilities, able to withstand temperatures as low as -55°C.

  9. Type ETP FKM: ETP FKM rubber is a specialty copolymer offering the most chemical resistance of any blend of FKM. ETP FKM is compatible with many amines, high pH caustics, steam, mineral acids, fuels, and more. ETP is typically used as a more cost effective alternative to perfluoroelastomers (FFKMs).


These are some of the main types of FKM rubber available, each catering to specific requirements in terms of temperature resistance, chemical resistance, flexibility, and more. Choosing the right type of FKM rubber ensures optimal performance and reliability in various industrial applications. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our FKM page.


Applications of FKM Rubber


FKM rubber has a broad range of applications across various industries, including:


  1. Aerospace Industry: FKM rubber is widely used in the aerospace industry for manufacturing various components, including seals, gaskets, and O-rings, that require excellent chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance.

  2. Automotive Industry: FKM rubber is used in the automotive industry for manufacturing various components, including O-rings, seals, gaskets, and fuel system parts, that require excellent chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance.

  3. Chemical Industry: FKM rubber is used in the chemical industry for manufacturing various products, including O-rings and chemical processing equipment that require excellent chemical resistance.

  4. Oil and Gas Industry: FKM rubber is used in the oil and gas industry for manufacturing various products, including O-rings, seals, gaskets, and hoses, that require excellent chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance.

  5. Medical Industry: FKM rubber is used in the medical industry for manufacturing various products, including O-rings, medical seals and tubing, that require excellent chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance.


Conclusion


FKM rubber is a highly versatile elastomer material that offers excellent resistance to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and fuels. Its unique properties make it an ideal material for a wide range of applications across various industries, including the aerospace, automotive, chemical, oil and gas, and medical industries. If you require a material that offers excellent chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance for your application, FKM rubber may be an excellent choice for you.


Where can I get FKM parts?


With the request a quote page, you can get directly in contact with our team of specialists who will help get you the parts you need.





Sources:


[1] Viton / FKM | O-Ring. (n.d.). https://o-ring.info/en/materials/vitonr--fkm/


[2] Writer, S. (2019, January 27). The Properties and applications of fluoroelastomers (FKM). https://www.thomasnet.com/insights/the-properties-and-applications-of-fluoroelastomers-fkm-/


[3] "Base Resistant FKM Technology in Oilfield_Seals"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2009.


[4] Schuster, Jens; Lutz, Johannes; Shaik, Yousuf Pasha; Yadavalli, Venkat Reddy (2022-10-01). "Recycling of fluoro-carbon-elastomers – A review". Advanced Industrial and Engineering Polymer Research. Recycling of Rubbers. 5 (4): 248–254. doi:10.1016/j.aiepr.2022.08.002. ISSN2542-5048. S2CID251658624.

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