FKM Gasket Material Properties

08 November 2017

The engineering label FKM is a designation, a term that describes a group of durable fluoro rubbers. Branded as Viton, the synthetic material is a capable gasketing rubber. Consider the superior high and low-temperature resistance properties here, the aptitude for enduring the kind of chemical attacks that would quickly lay waste to a standard gasketing solution. FKM endures, even when corrosive fluids attack.

Hangs Tough When Caustic Fluids Attack

Classed by American engineering groups as a specialized fluoroelastomer category, FKM compounds are designed to provide outstanding material durability. The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) appraised synthetic holds firm and functions without issue when a contained fluid is boiling hot or freezing cold. Corrosive solvents and caustic chemicals pass through the gaskets without eating away the rubber. Even ozone can’t undermine the toughened properties of fluoropolymer seals, nor can the lubricating or hydraulic oils that are known to cause seal fatigue.

Loaded with Upper-Limit Endurance

Granted, most gasket families are fabricated from the ‘right stuff,’ but this gang of rugged rubber compounds can’t match the elastomeric characteristics of Viton, a known FKM. For this synthetically enhanced polymer form not only resists such challenges, it retains the original shape of the gasket. That’s an important feature. After all, gaskets can function when they’re exposed to caustic fluids, but few of these materials have the structural strength to entirely defeat such form-damaging influences. Exposed to such corrosive fluids, non-fluoride gaskets swell and distort. As for a comparable FKM compound, this synthetic sealing material won’t collapse.

Determining Specific Applications

Picture a Viton gasket handling 200°C of vessel boiled heat. Then, out in a cryonics facility, the same FKM gaskets are capably handling -40°C of super-chilled fluid. Meanwhile, aerospace applications employ these fluoroelastomers in their hydraulic systems and lubricant lines. The oil doesn’t impact the gasket, so high-altitude wing flap operations are safeguarded. Biofuels or regular fuels, chemical plants or oil refineries, the gasket material properties of an FKM based seal are well recognized. Still, as with any other polymer, there are different types of FKM on the market. Know specific flow conditions before sourcing a potential synthetic rubber product, one that’s based on this robust synthetic rubber.

FKM gasket material properties highlight some seal challenging applications. In aerospace technology, the fluoropolymer seals install as ideal high-altitude, cold climate gaskets. They also channel lubricating oils and hydraulic fluids. At the other end of the spectrum, FKM gaskets operate as high-endurance ‘O’ rings and general application seals in the most caustic industrial settings, even those that channel highly corrosive acids.

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