All About Nitrile Rubber

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Nitrile butadiene rubber, commonly known as NBR, comes from unsaturated copolymers of 2-propenenitrile and butadiene monomers (1,2-butadiene and 1,3-butadiene). Sometimes Nitrile is referred to as acrylonitrile butadiene rubber.

The physical and chemical properties vary due to the polymer’s composition of nitrile, this form of synthetic rubber is unique in that it is mostly resistant to oil, fuel, and other chemicals. The higher percentage of nitrile within the polymer makes the rubber more oil resistant but less flexible in the process.

Nitrile is not toxic. It is made by emulsifying butadiene and acrylonitrile in water, and then polymerizing the end product of the emulsification. 

NBR can have from 15% to 50% acrylonitrile (ACN) content, depending on the characteristics outlined by the manufacturer that has commissioned the end use of it. In other words, a manufacturer can pick and choose acrylonitrile percentages of their NBR to create a bespoke product with a number of advantages. 

Why would an end user or manufacturer want a high ACN percentage? 

  • Processability
  • Cure Rate w/Sulfur Cure System
  • Oil/Fuel Resistance
  • Compatibility w/Polar Polymers
  • Air/Gas Impermeability
  • Tensile Strength
  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Heat-Aging 

Or maybe you want something with less acrylonitrile? Here are some benefits to this.

  • Cure Rate w/Peroxide Cure System
  • Compression Set
  • Resilience
  • Hysteresis
  • Low Temperature Flexibility

Check out this chart from surplussales.com for more context.

NBR is utilized in automotive and aeronautical industries to produce things like fuel and oil supply hoses, seals, grommets, and self-sealing fuel tanks, because typical rubbers are not able to be used in such applications.

Nitrile is found in the nuclear industry for items like protective gloves. The product’s uniquely suited to withstand a wide range of temps from −40 to 108 °C, thus giving it an edge when it comes to utilization in industries like aeronautical and aviation. NBR is used in the creation and production of moulded products such as footwear, sealants, floor mats, etc. 

Key Properties of NBR - Nitrile Butadiene Rubber

NBR’s superior resistance makes the rubber ideal for disposable purposes for medical, laboratory, and general cleaning gloves. 

Nitrile rubber is more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids, and has superior strength, but has inferior flexibility. 

In many instances Nitrile is produced in one plant, and then molded into a final product in another. 

There are companies that produce sheets – which look like rolls of thick carpet – to export to the final production plant.

End NBR products might include:

  • Seals 
  • Baseboards
  • Tubes 
  • Grommets
  • Washers
  • Neoprene 
  • Foam

Looking for a quote on buying or selling reclaimed NBR? Give us a shout and we’ll see if we can help you.

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