Testing the quality of rubber components

If you’ve ever experienced a rubber part or component break on you right in the middle of an important task, it can be frustrating, messy and leave you wondering if it was the result of poor quality rubber. However, poor quality is probably not the case. It could just be that the application for that type of rubber was not the right one.

There are many different types of rubber and their qualities and properties make them suitable for some applications but not others. What is rubber quality and how is it tested?

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When it comes to discussing the quality of a rubber material, it is best to look at it from the perspective of what it’s intended use will be. This essentially equates to – does it do the job you want it to do and will it continue to perform in this job?

The elements to consider are the design of the product for its intended use and the grade of rubber for the conditions in which the product will be used. If the design is strong, then it’s important to ensure that the grade of rubber is correct for the conditions in which the design will be used. The operating environment has an impact on what type of polymer is used and what grade of that particular polymer is used. It doesn’t always have to be the most expensive grade of rubber that will be right for a project, as long as it is sustainable, fits the requirements and falls within budget.

So, what is the difference between a commercial rubber and a ‘grade’ of rubber?

There are many types of rubber, ranging from natural rubber that comes from trees to synthetic varieties made from crude oil and chemicals. All have different benefits and properties so it’s important to figure out which one is best for any given application. For help with all aspects of UK Rubber Moulding, contact a company like https://www.meadex.co.uk/rubber-moulding/

For example, if a part or component requires a certain level of chemical or temperature resistance, a rubber will be tested against these criteria to see if it’s the right choice. This is what is known as a specification grade. This specification could be a bespoke one requested by a client or an industry standard, for example. A commercial grade rubber might be suitable for everyday products but will likely have a lower tensile, temperature or chemical resistance.

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When deciding which rubber is the best for an application, it is necessary to know the environment in which it will be working and the level to which it needs to perform in such an environment.

Tests that can be performed on rubber parts to check their suitability include:

Vibration analysis

Fluid swell tests

Load deflection


Thermal conductivity

Tensile stress tests

Radiation resistance


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