Elastomeric Polymers: Not as Boring as They Sound!

Elastomeric Polymers: Not as Boring as They Sound!
9/23/2017 2:29:55 PM

Polymers are everywhere. In the natural world, starch, cellulose and rubber have polymeric properties. Man-made polymers include spandex, polyester and nylon, as well as plastic. Made up of hundreds of thousands (or millions) of monomer molecules, polymers are sometimes called "macromolecules,” and can be classified according to their composition and properties:

  • Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) will become rubbery after reaching a glass transition temperature but will melt at higher temperatures. They are rubbers that act like plastic;
  • Plastomers are rigid at temperatures under a defined melting point;
  • Duromers are crosslinked polymers that decompose when heated to a defined temperature;
  • Elastomers are crosslinked polymers with rubber-like characteristics at glass transition temperatures. If heated further, they will decompose. The word "elastomer” is often used interchangeably with "rubber.”

Mark Tool’s industrial coatings typically fall into this last category, the elastomers.

Elastomers can be stretched, pulled, bounced and squashed, and they’ll always return to their shape. The properties of rollers, pipeline spacers, industrial coatings or anything else made out of elastomeric polymers reflect what's going on at the molecular level.

Elastomers

Man-made elastomers offer four specific benefits for industrial use, including:

    1. Customization – Elastomers are highly customizable in size, shape, flexibility and color. Elastomeric products such as polyurethane and urethane formulations can be precisely molded into affordable parts and coatings that meet your specifications.
    1. Short Production Time – Elastomers can be mixed, molded and vulcanized (cured) quickly.
    1. Durability - Even at extreme temperatures, elastomers keep their shape and color. They also don’t degrade in water or sunlight.
    1. Fire Resistance – Many elastomers stand up to long-term heat exposure and will eventually burn to non-conducting ash. This safety measure helps reduce the spread of industrial fires.
A Few of Our Elastomeric Products

Splashtron

Mark Tool’s signature Splashtron protects against abrasive seawater, ozone and ultraviolet rays, impacts from boats and floating debris, and the effects of sea life built upon offshore oil and gas installations.
It is considered an industry-leading choice for pipeline coatings, platform structural members, conventional risers, pipelines pulled through J-tubes, conductor sand the lining of riser clamps.
This sturdy, long-lasting elastomer is applied during fabrication to structural members that will be exposed to the "splash zone.”

Industrial Rollers

Our industrial rollers can withstand a variety of solvents and chemicals without losing their physical properties. We machine and grind elastomeric rollers to the hardness required for a particular application.

We make all of our polyurethane rollers from the highest quality polymers, and they are available in any shape or size. We can manufacture hourglass (V-shaped) rollers, conveyor belt rollers, pipe conveyor rollers, sheave rollers and paper mill rollers, among others.

A Closer Look at Industrial Elastomers

Technically, the following polymers are all elastomers:

    1. Polyisoprenes – The primary chemical constituent of natural rubber, these waterproof elastomers go into rubber bands, adhesives and—when coupled with carbon black and vulcanized—automotive tires. Here at Mark Tool, we use rubber to make rollers, tensioner pads and other custom molded products.
    1. Polybutadienes – These withstand cold temperatures better than other elastomers, so they’re perfect for tire treads and engine belts.
    1. Polyisobutylenes – The only rubber that’s gas impermeable, which is why it’s ideal for inner tubes and soccer balls.
    1. Polyurethanes –The most versatile polymer, polyurethane is the primary component in many of our signature products.
Why Polyurethane?
The advantage of cast polyurethane, when compared to other elastomers and plastics, comes from its greater strength, toughness, durability and versatility. Polyurethanes are cost-effective and dependable elastomers that combine some of the performance advantages of plastics, metals and ceramics along with the resiliency and flexibility of rubber.

Cast polyurethane products can be molded and bonded to many different substrates, including steel, aluminum and fiberglass. They can also be molded to meet various durometers (degrees of hardness).

The chemical properties of polyurethane can be adjusted to address performance needs that other materials can’t. That’s why cast polyurethane components will deliver a better long-term value for the end customer.

Polyurethane is much less likely to fail due to cracking, swelling, breaks, tears, abrasion and deterioration. We can also cast parts as small as a few ounces or as large as several hundred pounds.

Mark Tool and Rubber specialists are always ready to answer your questions. If you’re wondering whether rubber, urethane or Splashtron are right for you, drop us a line today, and we’ll be glad to assist.

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