EPDM is a soft, silicone-like material suitable for a wide range of gasket applications. It’s often molded into seals and ‘O’ rings but it’s also produced in sheet form of various sizes and thicknesses. This is ideal for laser, waterjet and die-cutting custom gaskets. Like all gasket materials though, EPDM does have some limitations. Here’s some guidance on when and when not to use EPDM Rubber Gaskets.
EPDM Gasket Material Basics
EPDM is an acronym for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. The short version of the chemistry explained in, “Understanding EPDM Gasket Material,” is that this forms long interlocked molecular chains. This gives it an elastic behavior somewhere between neoprene and silicone.
Strengths of EPDM Rubber Gaskets
EPDM has characteristics that make it good for a wide range of gasket applications. Chief among these are:
- Withstands attack by a wide range of chemicals including acids, alkalis and ketones
- Good resistance to steam and caustic cleaners
- Good resistance to UV light
- Remains flexible at temperatures as low as -40°F (-40C)
- Upper temperature limit around 225°F (107°C)
- Good ozone resistance
- Good dielectric properties mean it’s a good choice for electrical sealing
- Good abrasion resistance
- Excellent elastic recovery.
- Won’t impart a taint to liquids or solids it comes into contact with
Limitations of EPDM Rubber Gaskets
EPDM should not be used with oils and fuels as these cause swelling. The upper limit to strength is around 1100 PSI.
Good Applications for EPDM Rubber Gaskets
EPDM works where the application needs a gasket material more robust than neoprene and less expensive than silicone. The three main classes of application are:
- Food and drink processing equipment (mixer seals is a common application) as it’s available in food grades and withstands aggressive cleaning regimens.
- Sealing outdoors, where it withstands low temperatures and exposure to UV.
- Electrical cabinets and enclosures, where ozone may be generated.
If you have a gasket application that needs a more robust material than neoprene, EPDM might be the answer. Contact the specialists at Hennig Gasket to learn more.