Dimensional precision partners structural stability to form an important pair of design features, hugely important parameters that rule today’s manufacturing processes, but elastomer products purposefully break this rule. The amorphous nature of a rubbery material exhibits malleable characteristics, resilient elasticity properties that enable products made from the versatile material to compress or stretch without causing loss of shape. Additional benefits of the material are many. Let’s take a look at an important cross section of the products that employ these benefits.
The long molecular chains incorporated within equipment drive belts are cross-linked in order to provide strength and deformation resistance. The belt is also imbued with formidable mechanical strength. Combine all of these attributes and we’re able to fit drive systems and motors with products that are strong, resilient, and designed to retain their form even when constant start/stop cycles are part of the operating dynamic. As strong as any hard plastic but capable of flexing without fracturing, elastomer products rely on this form for keeping machines moving, including the kilometre-long conveyor belts that wind through mining complexes.
An inbuilt compressibility factor favours this type of polymer, especially when strong mechanical bonds are required. The parts are required to guarantee complete system isolation and deliver a malleable outline that conforms to every eccentric edge of the product. Pipes use this application, adding mechanical fasteners and flanges to really ramp up the pressure applied to gasket rings. Chemical resistance is an equally important property in this case because some pipes and housings (engine housings among them) carry material-degrading fuels and caustic chemicals.
A mild steel enclosure is mechanically stronger than a rubber product, but it lacks the ability to absorb shock. Elastomer products manage shock events without harm. They coat metal housings and extraneous equipment parts in mines and quarries to protect metal housings and stop metal from deforming. The surface of the product also acts as a most efficient abrasive event offset, in that elastomers simply refuse to wear when continually struck by fine streams of aggregate matter or larger streams of mineral-laden rocks.
Initial design parameters state that elastomers are able to stretch and deform, but they’re capable of so much more when material design engineers have their way. Chemical resistance and the ability to mix with concrete and other hard substances broaden the application range of the flexible material, thus delivering a high tensile backbone for today’s most malleable products.