What is EPDM Rubber and Its Uses for Automotive?
Technically known by the acronym EPDM, ethylene propylene dieme is a synthetic rubber, a pliable elastomer that’s equipped with a long list of features and functions. The material is particularly adept at defeating environmental extremes, a fact that categorizes the rubber as an ideal weather sealant. At this point it would be tempting to assign the rubber with commonplace weatherproofing functions, but, as distinctive and established as this role may be, manufacturers would be doing the rubber a disservice by not taking advantage of the powerful vibration-dampening characteristics of the elastomer.
In celebrating all of the attributes of EPDM, manufacturers have partnered the sealing attributes of the material with our just-mentioned noise reduction property and come up with a wealth of automotive applications for ethylene propylene dieme. The products bond quickly with metal, provide a strong barrier against the weather, and attenuate vibration as transferred from the engine compartment, the outer environment, and the road surface. Having boldly flattered these properties, let’s rewind and take our dialogue beyond a three letter acronym explanation because, presently, we’re ignoring that big ‘M’ that resides at the end of the abbreviation.
Ethylene and propylene are the primary constituents of EPDM rubber. The third component is a diene monomer. The non-chemist would likely slip up at this point and assume the ‘M’ represents monomer, but a little research shows us that the last letter actually arises from the classification of the material as an M-class polymer, a material that’s formulated with a saturated backbone. See the ASTM standard sheet and the D1418 abstract for a fuller explanation on this naming convention. The terapolymer formulation created by this lattice of molecules results in our aforementioned weatherproof synthetic rubber, a material that’s commonplace in automotive window seals due to a lack of reactance when in the presence of ozone and ultraviolet radiation. Additionally, the vibration resistance factor incorporated within EPDM injects a natural noise-absorbing property within the product, making the rubber an ideal fit for all of those outdoor mechanisms we use that are under some form of motive power. And, since cars and larger wheeled vehicles are our primary movers, EPDM has thus become the standard weatherproof/vibration-free solution for our many roadsters, from smallest car to largest recreational vehicle.
Primarily used in the construction industry and automotive applications, let’s pay homage to the power of EPDM within our vehicles. Synthetic rubber parts and assemblies made from this material include but are not limited to the following:
- Rubberised channels for car windows and windscreens
- Automotive hoses and gaskets
- Door weather seal pathways
- Vibration dampening
- Sheets of EPDM used as overhead waterproofing membranes
The highly affordable cost factor associated with this synthetic rubber gives us our final justification in placing products made from the material into millions of vehicles, though price is evenly pitched against high-temperature resistance and anti-aging features. Whether under the heavily beating sun or strong rain, EPDM won’t crack, but it will shield passengers from the elements and external noise/vibration.
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