Back to Basics: Testing Elastomers and Elastomer Additives

By March 7, 2019articles, News

The pervasiveness of rubber and plastic products is hard to overstate. They are everywhere, and they have been around for a while. In the case of rubber, it’s been in use since the early 1800s. While rubber and elastomers (from “elastic polymers”) previously had slightly different meanings, today for all practical purposes they are synonymous. Common elastomers include silicone rubber and fluoroelastomers. Elastomer additives are used to create different and more desirable formulations.

What are these materials used for? The applications are diverse, ranging from aerospace to automotive to biomedical, and chances are you probably used a product with one of these materials today, from the grip of a thermoplastic elastomer on your toothbrush to any number of components in a car. Elastomers may be used in the automotive industry for tire manufacturing, in the oil and gas industry for sealing, and even in wetsuits or cycling shorts.

In order to ensure the successful testing of these materials, as with so many industries and applications, standards are in place. In this case, ASTM D412 and ISO 37.

Interest in these materials goes way back. The ASTM Committee D11 on Rubber was established in 1912. Today the group has more than 350 members, with 228 standards, and participation from 25 countries, according to ASTM. The standards are available in Volumes 09.01 & 09.02 in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. The group meets twice each year, in June and December, and for those who are interested, the next meeting of the D11 Rubber committee of ASTM will be held June 3-5, 2019, in Denver, CO, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

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