Properties of Fluoroelastomers
Fluorocarbon Elastomer (FKM)
Fluorocarbon elastomer (FKM) is a common fluoroelastomer, which contains monomer units with carbon-carbon bonds, and the units have fluorinated side groups with different fluorine content. The proper combination of monomers produces an amorphous material with elastic properties.
Fluorocarbon elastomers can be based on many types of monomers:
- vinylidene fluoride (VDF)
- tetrafluoroethylene (TFE)
- chlorotrifluoroethylene (CTFE)
- hexafluoropropylene (HFP)
- perfluoromethyl vinyl ether (PMVE)
- hydropentafluoropropane (HPFP)
- ethylene and propylene (P)
Perfluoroelastomers (FFKM) represent a special subgroup of fluorocarbon elastomers.
Advantages of FFKM:
- Wide temperature range (-55°C-330°C)
- Excellent chemical resistance (best in class, similar to PTFE)
- Excellent resistance to gas and liquid permeability
- Excellent weather resistance and ozone resistance
- Self-extinguishing, non-flammable in the air
- High density
- Good mechanical properties, improve sealing performance
- Due to the high cost, fluorocarbon elastomers are used in special applications that have very high requirements for high temperature and corrosion resistance to chemicals and thermal oils.
- They are most widely used in molded and extruded products, mainly for gaskets in the aircraft, aerospace, and automotive industries; flame-retardant coatings on hoses, films, rubber rolls, fabrics, and flammable substrates.
- Due to their dielectric properties, they can be used for low voltage and low frequency electrical insulation when heat and corrosion resistant chemicals are required. Other applications include the food industry, solid rocket fuel adhesives and expanded (foam) rubber.
- In the form of latex, FKM can be used as a binder for coating fabrics and fiber materials.
- Perfluoroelastomers are especially suitable for extreme service conditions. They can withstand more than 1,500 chemical substances, including ethers, ketones, esters, aromatic and chlorinated solvents, oxidants, oils, fuels, acids and alkalis, and can be used at temperatures up to 316°C (600°F).
- Due to the retention of elasticity, low compression set and good creep resistance, they perform well as static or dynamic seals under conditions where other materials fail.
- Since perfluoroelastomer parts are mainly used in fluid sealing environments, attention must be paid to seal design parameters, especially when they are related to the mechanical properties of the elastic materials used. The sealing performance depends on the stability of the material in the fluid, its mechanical properties, the mechanical design and the installation of the seal.
- In the field of tissue engineering, it can be used as an implant to provide support and a favorable environment for cell growth. The new perfluoroelastomer inoculated adipose stem cells has the potential for application in soft tissue repair. Tissue growth was observed in fluoropolymer samples with larger pore diameters.
Figure 1. SEM images of perfluoroelastomers with different pore sizes 
- Clavijo-Alvarez, Julio A. M.D., Ph.D.; Rubin, J Peter M.D.; Bennett, Jennifer M.S.; Nguyen, Vu T. M.D.; Dudas, Jason B.S.; Underwood, Christopher Ph.D.; Marra, Kacey G. Ph.D. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 118 (2006), 1132-1142.
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