Why Nitrile Rubber is a Versatile Gasket Material

nitrile rubber

Nitrile rubber, also known as nitrile butadiene rubber, acrylonitrile butadiene rubber, Buna-N or NBR, is a highly versatile material that has gained popularity as a gasket material in various industries.

A copolymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile, the chemical and physical characteristics of the material depend on the composition of nitrile, meaning that the properties of the material can be customised in order to make the material more suitable for a wide range of applications. For example, the higher the nitrile content, the greater the resistance to oils, fuels and other petroleum-based fluids. 

Selecting Nitrile Rubber

The ability to adjust the composition of nitrile has led to it being one of the most commonly used elastomers in the gasket manufacturing and sealing industry. With its unique properties, nitrile butadiene rubber is a widely used gasket material in the automotive, aeronautical, marine and military sectors. Its exceptional resistance to fuels and oils makes it ideal for gaskets, seals and grommets that come into contact with fuels and oils, where other rubber materials fail. In addition to resistance to oils and fuels, nitrile’s ability to withstand a wide range of temperature (from -20 to 100°C) makes it a preferred choice for applications where the material may be exposed to extreme cold or heat.

Nitrile rubber is suitable for conversion into various products. Nitrile rubber sheeting can be cut into strips, gaskets, O-rings, oil seals and hydraulic seals, whilst commercial grade nitrile can also be moulded into a range of gasket and sealing products and extruded for applications such as cable jacketing and printer’s form rollers.

Other key benefits of selecting nitrile rubber are that it features a low compression set, high tensile strength, excellent tear resistance and high abrasion resistance.

nitrile rubber

Limitations and Alternatives

Whilst nitrile butadiene is a highly versatile material, it’s important to be aware of the limitations that mean it is not suitable for certain applications. Nitrile does not react well to ozone, UV and weather conditions in general, so for sealing applications where there is long term exposure to outdoor conditions, it is incompatible as a gasket material. 

For applications where a good resistance to oils, fuels and chemicals is required, but resistance to ozone, UV and elements is also crucial, neoprene rubber provides a suitable alternative material in many cases. Also known as Chloroprene, neoprene is a solid rubber with excellent strength and abrasion properties, combined with fantastic resistance to oils and chemicals, weather conditions in general, and temperatures ranging between -20 and 80°C. Like nitrile rubber, neoprene can also be manufactured into a wide range of products, including gaskets, washers and strips, as well as fabricated parts.

Nitrile Rubber Sheeting

At CB Frost, we can supply nitrile rubber in rolls or sheets of thicknesses ranging from 1mm to 6mm as standard. Depending on your requirements we can also supply nitrile in a selection of different grades, so if you require material to food grade specifications, or to comply with BS2751 (British Standard), we can help.

With our inhouse manufacturing capabilities, we can convert nitrile rubber sheeting to a wide range of products:

  • Gaskets
  • Strips
  • Washers
  • Fabrications
  • Extrusions
  • Mouldings

If you have further questions about the properties of nitrile or would like assistance in selecting the right gasket materials, contact CB Frost today. With our material knowledge and experience in manufacturing rubber products for all industries, combined with our in house tooling manufacturing capabilities, we are your one stop shop for nitrile rubber sheeting and gasket material.


For more information or advice

call us today on +44 (0) 121 773 8494

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