Rules of Thumb

The Best Sealing Materials for Oil Applications

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In oil and gas applications, sealing devices are critical to prevent unwanted dirt, water, dust or other debris from contaminating products. When it comes to finding the right seal for these applications, material selection is key. Every rubber material has unique benefits that must align with the requirements in oil applications, such as chemical compatibility, temperature and pressure ranges.

Apple Rubber recommends the following rubber materials for oil applications. For more information about each material, visit our Material Selection Guide

Nitrile (Buna-N)

Nitrile is the sealing industries most economical and widely used material. It’s most commonly used in a wide range of oil applications, as well as automotive, marine, aircraft fuel and military applications. The most notable benefits of Nitrile for oil seals include: 

  • Resistance to petroleum-based oil and fuel, silicone greases, hydraulic fluid and water
  • Low compression set
  • High tensile strength
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Standard temperatures range from -40°F to 257°F

Fluorocarbon (Viton®)

Viton® is a synthetic rubber typically used in o-rings, gaskets, lip seals and other molded sealing devices for oil applications. High fluorine grades of Viton® offer excellent resistance to swell in high octane and oxygenated fuel blends, making it the ideal sealing material for ethanol/methanol blended gasoline. Other important benefits of Viton® include: 

  • Standard temperatures range from -13°F to 446°F
  • High temperature resistance
  • Chemical resistance to transmission fluid, gasoline and petroleum oils

Silicone

Silicone offers one of the widest working temperature ranges of all elastomers. Silicone is most known for its flexibility and low compression set characteristics, making it an optimal choice for o-rings and other molded seals. The most important benefits of silicone in oil applications include: 

  • Standard temperatures range from -85°F to 400°F
  • Phenyl (PVMQ) based silicones can perform to -148°F
  • Resistant to ozone, sun and weather conditions
  • Flexibility allows Silicone to be a great option for electrical insulation

Fluorosilicone

Fluorosilicone combines the temperature stability of silicone with resistance to fuels, oils and solvents. Fluorosilicone is most often used in aerospace fuel applications and automotive fuel emission control, however it is becoming increasingly popular in a wider range of oil applications. Some of the unique characteristics of fluorosilicone include: 

  • Standard temperatures range from 75°F to 400°F.
  • Excellent high temperature resistance
  • Offers good compression set properties
  • Withstands exposure to sun, air and ozone
  • Resistant to chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons

 

Want to talk more about sealing materials for oil applications?

Contact an engineer today.