After a minute or two of trying to psychically conjure an image of the best gasket material, you find yourself sheepishly seeking answers online.
Yet, when you reach nitrile gaskets, you’re stuck. What is a nitrile gasket?
Over the past 35+ years at Strouse, we’ve seen many engineers scratch their heads over gasketing materials, but material choice shouldn’t hold you back from building a successful component.
Once you’ve learned about some advantages and use cases for nitrile gaskets, you should be more prepared to make an informed decision that will improve your product design.
Nitrile vs. NBR vs. Buna N Rubber
You might be wondering, “Okay, so what’s the difference between nitrile, NBR, and Buna-N rubber?” The answer is more straightforward than you might imagine—
They’re all the same.
Well, essentially they’re all the same. NBR and Buna-N rubber refers to the same material, nitrile rubber, only NBR is an abbreviation (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber), and Buna-N is a well-known brand name.
So yes, now when you see nitrile, NBR, and Buna-N pitted against each other, you know they’re all basically the same material.
The Benefits of Nitrile Gaskets
With so many gasket materials to choose from, one of the questions itching at you right now is likely, “Why should I use nitrile gaskets?”
Like other gasket materials, nitrile gaskets can be used in many different applications depending on the specific needs of your project. Before deciding whether nitrile fits your application, you must understand which aspects of the material can benefit you.
Here’s a comprehensive list of advantages you’ll experience when using nitrile rubber gaskets.
BENEFIT 1: ACID RESISTANCE
One of the most compelling reasons to use nitrile gaskets is their resistance to several different substances— one of which is acids.
Nitrile gaskets and seals offer excellent resistance against alkalis and acids, making them useful in industries and applications where they’re often present.
BENEFIT 2: OIL AND GASOLINE RESISTANCE
Along with acid, nitrile rubber material is resistant to oil, gasoline, and lubricants, making NBR gaskets highly valuable in automotive and aerospace applications where they act as fuel-resistant seals.
Note: When it comes to nitrile rubber, you’ll want to avoid using organic compounds like acetone, ethanol, or acetic acid. Nitrile rubber does not have good resistance against these organic compounds.
BENEFIT 3: COMPRESSION RESISTANCE
Nitrile gaskets resist compression, meaning they can revert to their original shape after pressure. The compression resistance is ideal for products that are in constant use or intended to be permanent.
In addition to their compression resistance, NBR gaskets have high tensile strength, contributing to their performance in dynamic applications.
BENEFIT 4: LOW-TEMPERATURE FUNCTIONALITY
Not all gaskets are made to withstand low temperatures while maintaining their compression resistance, but nitrile gaskets are the exception.
Gaskets without cold resistance can freeze and break, often leading to failures. Luckily, nitrile rubber can withstand temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C).
When to NOT Choose Nitrile Rubber
Despite nitrile rubber’s many advantages, it’s not the best choice for outdoor applications. A lack of UV, ozone, and weather resistance will lead to cracking.
Nitrile rubber is NOT weather-resistant, but luckily there are other outdoor tape options available for powerful gasketing applications. If you plan on using a nitrile gasket, you’ll want to keep it shielded from outside conditions.
Although nitrile rubber CAN withstand temperatures up to 212°F (100°C), this is a relatively moderate range when compared to a material like silicone, which reaches up to 400-500°F (204-260°C). Generally, nitrile rubber functions better in medium-high-temp gasketing applications.
Lastly, before you grab the blow torch, you should know that nitrile rubber is NOT flame-resistant and is not the best choice for projects requiring flame resistance.
Should I Choose Nitrile Rubber for My Gasket?
Like any other gasket material, there are times when nitrile rubber is the right choice and times when other materials better suit the job.
If you’re searching for an acid and oil-resistant gasket that handles compression well or functions in low temperatures, nitrile rubber could be an excellent choice for you.
Yet, before you begin your hunt for the best material price, consider your manufacturing capabilities. Does it make sense to build your gasket in-house, or are you looking for fully-finished parts?
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that building a gasket is easier said than done. Consider reaching out to schedule your material consultation above and take the first step in your journey to creating fully optimized, flexible product components.