6 Types of Elastomers & What They Do

As anyone in the oil and gas industry knows, elastomers are an essential part of any BOP. These strong, rubber-like objects serve as excellent sealants for blowout preventers to keep leaks from occurring. But just like there are different types of BOPs suited for different needs and work environments, there are quite a few different types of elastomers too. Which one is suited for your particular requirements?

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Common Elastomers

Some types of elastomers are highly chemical and temperature-resistant, making them perfect for jobs deep underground and in direct contact with oil. Others are more delicate and do better in work closer to the surface. Don’t wind up with the wrong kind by mistake! Here’s a quick breakdown of common types of elastomers:

  1. FKM
  2. NBR
  3. HNBR
  4. FEPM
  5. FFKM
  6. EPDM

1) FKM

FKM elastomers cover about 80% of fluoroelastomers on the market. Depending on the exact chemical composition of each type, these elastomers can withstand in-ground temperatures of 315 degrees Celsius (599 degrees Fahrenheit) and are resilient to most chemicals. These elastomers also tend to be less expensive and are thus an excellent choice for maintaining a budget.

Pro Tip: Talk to a BOP expert about the kind of elastomer your circumstances require. Don’t get stuck with an unreliable type.

2) NBR

NBR elastomers are more delicate than other types. Though they offer an impressive resistance against carbon dioxide and other chemicals found underground, they can only withstand moderate temperatures and begin to falter when exposed to highly alkaline fluids. Due to their relative fragility, NBRs tend to be restricted to completion equipment.

3) HNBR

A slightly more resilient strain of NBR, HNBR is still only safe in a few specific situations. Talk to an expert to see if this type of elastomer is fit for your needs or if you need something stronger.

4) FEPM

FEPM elastomers can withstand moderate to high underground temperatures and resist H2S very effectively. Outside of the oilfield, you’ll find these elastomers in automobile and electrical applications.

5) FFKM

FFKM elastomers work best in HP or HT applications or as packer sealants. These elastomers are fairly chemically resistant, but their common usage in the semiconductor industry may mean they aren’t always the safest choice for certain BOP requirements.

6) EPDM

EPDM elastomers are one of the most resilient and reliable choices on the market. They can withstand underground temperatures ranging from -51 to 250 degrees Celsius (-59.8 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit), in addition to providing a sturdy barrier against high pressure, hot steam, and common oilfield chemicals. These elastomers are rarely seen outside the oilfield.

Finding the Right Elastomer

If you still have questions about the type of elastomer that’s best for your work situation or aren’t quite sure which category your work falls into, get in touch with our expert team to find the solution for you. Don’t settle for anything less than the best elastomers on the market to keep your workplace safe and productive!

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