Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a synthetic rubber used to make a variety of common and versatile products, including rubber tubing. EPDM tubing resists heat, chemical, ozone, abrasion, and weather, making it a popular choice for use in many industries.
Understanding the properties of a given material is essential during the selection process. Here are some of the general properties of EPDM:
- Common names. EPDM is most commonly referred to by its chemical name ethylene propylene diene monomer, or by the acronym EPDM. Some of the common brand names for the gum polymer include Dutral®, Nordel®, and Vistalon®.
- Temperature range. EPDM can safely handle operating temperatures down to -20°F, and becomes brittle around -40°F. The high end of EPDM’s operating temperature range is approximately 300°F.
- Strength. EPDM features a tensile range between 500–2500 psi, which gives it excellent tear resistance compared to many other rubbers.
- Hardness. EPDM has a Shore A hardness between 30 and 90 depending on the specific material grade.
- Environmental/Chemical Performance. EPDM is broadly used because of its expansive spectrum of performance under difficult conditions. It resists UV radiation, ozone, many chemicals, abrasion, and tearing. However, it does have poor resistances to oil and solvents.
Difference Between EPDM and Silicone Rubber
Silicone and EPDM are both used for rubber tubing, but the properties of the two materials vary. Knowing the differences is essential to ensure selection of the best rubber tubing for a particular use case.
EPDM has a polymer structure that makes it well equipped to withstand many environmental factors, such as UV and ozone exposure. EPDM tubing is cost competitive with silicone rubber and also features a higher tear strength. The primary limitation to EPDM rubber is its operational temperature range. EPDM tubing typically can’t handle temperatures much higher than 300°F or lower than -30℉. EPDM is also prone to swelling if exposed continuously to oil.
Silicone rubber is an inorganic polymer composed of silicon, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Silicone also withstands environmental factors well but offers a much broader operating temperature range. Silicone rubber can operate in temperatures up to 446°F. Where EPDM has higher tear strength, silicone offers better elasticity and remains elastic even in cryogenic temperatures down to -76°F.
EPDM Tubing Applications
EPDM’s applications vary across many industries, but here are some examples of common use cases:
- HVAC. HVAC systems rely on EPDM tubing for pressure switch tubing and drain tubes, among others.
- Automotive. EPDM tubing is often used in vehicles as heating and cooling hoses, washer fluid tubing, within emissions systems, and in hydraulic systems.
- Industrial. Industrial facilities commonly use EPDM rubber tubing as radiator and hydraulic hoses on machinery and equipment. Chemical manufacturers, in particular, benefit from EPDM tubing for its innate resistance to many chemistries.
- Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Warfare (NBC). The military has increasingly turned to EPDM rubber for use in various NBC protective and decontamination equipment thanks to its ability to resist harsh cleaning agents after use.
- High Precision Cost Efficient Production in ISO 9001:2015 Certified Facility
- Custom Compound Formulation for Precise Engineered Performance and Optimized Cost
- In-House Economical Secondary Operations such as Cutting, Bonding, and O-Ring Fabrication
- Multi-Lumen and Tight Tolerance Production for Optimal Cost
- Manufacturer and Complete One Stop Shop for Extrusions in Engineering Elastomers with Extensive Application Engineering Support
Capabilities and Ranges for EPDM Elastomers / Profiles / Tubing
- Single, Coextrusion, and Tri-Extrusion capability
- Multi-Lumen Extrusion
- Multiple Durometer/Hardness
- Multiple Material/Color Extrusion
- Insert Extrusion
- 0.040″ to 3″ Plus
- Custom Formulation for Mechanical Properties, Chemical Resistance, and Temperature Resistance; and Color Matching
- Die Cutting
- Adhesive Application
- Frame & O-Ring Fabrication
- Special Put-Ups
- Special Packaging
- PSA Application
Typical Applications for EPDM Elastomers / Profiles / Tubing
Vanguard’s custom EPDM Elastomers / profiles are used in many applications and industries throughout the world. Vanguard has vast experience in designing and manufacturing for virtually any requirement including:
- Military NBC Seals, Gaskets And Tubing
- Washers And Seals For Electronics And Electrical Equipment
- Architectural And Window Seals
- Electrical Connector Seals
- Condensate Tubing For HVAC Equipment
- Outdoor Electrical Enclosures Seal
- Dry Cleaning Equipment Tubing
- Silos And Storage Tank Seals And Tubing
- Medical Equipment Seals And Tubing
- Plastic Case Seals
EPDM Rubber Tubing at Vanguard Products
At Vanguard Products, we engineer and manufacture EPDM tubing as part of our expansive portfolio of natural and synthetic rubber products. EPDM rubber tubing offers many unique properties that make it optimal for use in a variety of industries and applications. With over 50 years of experience, we have developed the expertise necessary to consistently deliver the best products for your needs.
If you would like to learn more about Vanguard Products, please contact us today.
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