Everything you need to know about Viton® Rubber

When it comes to material selection for sealing products, one elastomer that crops up time and again is Viton®. A brand name of chemical giants DuPont, Viton® is part of the fluoroelastomer (FKM) family, which is characterised by strong carbon-fluorine bonds that makes these versatile fluorinated polymers highly resistant to many chemicals, extreme heat and oxidation. Little wonder then that Viton® ‘O’ rings have grown increasingly important to the sealing industry.

What is Viton®?

Such is the popularity of Viton® that it has become a catch-all term for fluoroelastomers (FKM). Just as Velcro, Tupperware and Hoover are brand names that have become so synonymous with their products that they have crossed over into common parlance and cemented their places in the general lexicon, so too has DuPont’s Viton® brand. This remarkable elastomer has given rise to highly dependable and versatile Viton® ‘O’ rings.

This is chiefly thanks to favourable chemical makeup of Viton®. Strong carbon-fluorine bonds give it and other fluoroelastomer blends their superlative chemical, thermal and oxidation resistant properties. These beneficial characteristics make Viton® the perfect material for extreme environments. For instance, the Viton® temperature range of -45 °C to 204 °C makes it ideal for high temperature applications, such as those in the oil and gas industry.

What are the origins of Viton®?

They say necessity is the mother of invention and that was certainly the case during World War II. The war years were certainly a fertile period for the rapid development of new and innovative materials to support the war effort. Fluoroelastomers were one such material to emerge at the time. Their invention was necessitated by the need for a more reliable alternative to the leaky and unreliable nitrile seals used in the aircraft of the time.

Their chemically inert fluorine-carbon bonds made these fluorinated polymers an instant hit with aviators and engineers alike, thanks to their winning combination of high chemical resistance and low-temperature performance. FKM was eventually commercialised in the 1950s, with Du Pont’s Viton® brand first employed in an aerospace application in 1957. Over the decades, the fluorine content has increased from 26.7% to 66%-68% to provide even greater levels of chemical resistance.

Viton® rubber properties

There are a number of advantageous Viton® rubber properties to mention, including the following:

  • Excellent chemical resistance.
  • High density and high-quality feel.
  • Wide temperature range (-45°C – 204°C).
  • Excellent weatherability and ozone resistance.
  • Excellent gas and liquid permeation resistance.
  • Suitable for explosive decompression, CIP, SIP and FDA.
  • Good mechanical properties, improving sealing performance.
  • More resistant to burning than non-fluorinated hydrocarbons.

Viton® applications

Owing to these beneficial properties, Viton® is used across a wide range of industrial settings. These include:

  • Automotive
  • Chemical processing
  • Oil and gas
  • Heavy duty machinery
  • Aerospace

Contact TRP Polymer Solutions today

Make TRP Polymer Solutions your custom moulded rubber manufacturer of choice for high-performance Viton® ‘O’ rings. To find out more about our high-quality polymer products and manufacturing processes, or to discuss your requirements in more detail, please contact TRP Polymer Solutions on +44(0)1432 268899 or sales@trp.co.uk.