Environmental Performance of Elastomers
Elastomers belong to a group of materials known as polymers that acquire their properties and strength from their molecular weight, chain entanglements, and crystalline regions. This article focuses on the use of elastomers as seals and describes its performance capabilities from the point of a sealant. The important technical concepts that define the performance capabilities of the elastomeric part include polymer architecture (molecular building blocks), compounding (the ingredients within the polymer), and vulcanization of the elastomer shape. The article discusses the aggressiveness of the chemical environment, temperature, and minor constituents in the environment and in the material itself that affect the chemical resistance of the elastomer. It provides a discussion on performance evaluation methods, namely, immersion testing and application specific testing that are determined using ISO and ASTM standards. The article concludes with information on elastomer failure modes and failure analysis.