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Posted on : Friday 29th May 2020 05:30 PM

Elastomers and Rubbers - Is There A Difference?

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Rubber and elastomer are words commonly used to mean any material with rubber-like properties. Elastomer is shorthand for elastic polymer. Elastomers are viscoelastic: sticky, very elastic polymers (plastics). Natural rubber is an elastomer made from latex, a milky tree sap. Synthetic elastomers are made from petroleum. Rubber is frequently used to indicate elastomers that must be vulcanized or cured to be useful. 

What are elastomers and rubbers?

Elastomers are best described as rubbery materials. Rubber originally meant natural rubber. Later on, elastomer became the word used to talk about synthetic rubbers. Most rubbery materials are now considered a type of elastomeric material.

Elastomers are useful

Liquid and gas handling systems require flexible, durable and reliable seals. Elastomers are perfectly suited for this type of use. Elastomers improve system service life by making them more reliable. They also reduce maintenance costs.

Elastomers are flexible

Manufacturers are able to mold elastomers into all kinds of shapes. Elastomers are bendable and twistable at room temperature. They are also very heat resistant. Their mechanical properties and overall good chemical resistance make them very useful.

Some physical properties of elastomers and rubbers

  1. Permeability - Elastomers generally resist the passage of air, gasses, steam, water and fluids.
  2. Tackiness - Elastomers resist sliding on most other materials. This includes various fibers, metals and rigid plastics.
  3. Insulation - Elastomers tend to be good electrical insulators. They are also good insulators to heat and cold.

Elastomers and rubbers have good mechanical properties that make them flexible but tough

  1. Good resistance to breaking when stretched 
  2. Elastic
  3. Tear resistant
  4. Abrasion resistant


The duckbills and diaphragms of plastic diaphragm check valves are made of elastomers. O-rings and gasket seals are too. This is because of the unique physical and chemical properties of elastomers. Most design processes can benefit from a better understanding of elastomeric materials.


elastomers rubbers elastic polymer duckbills and diaphragms of plastic diaphragm check valves o rings and gasket seals rubber like properties

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