Silicone or neoprene can be used as an alternative to EPDM gasket material. Silicone is more efficient and is made to last longer in high temperature applications. Neoprene is also fairly water-resistant and can withstand heavy chemical flow, but EPDM gaskets have still have an atmospheric-resistant advantage, which is a big benefit in outdoor gasket applications.
Though this type of gasket cannot withstand petroleum-based chemicals the way neoprene can, EPDM gaskets can withstand many water-based chemicals, steam, oxygenated solvents and vegetable and animal oils.
EPDM is a polymer, which means that it is a substance formed by a chemical reaction that creates a compound, and then those compounds mix particles with clusters of repeating large molecules. It is also an elastomer, a polymer with the property of elasticity, making the material more flexible.
Furthermore, the presence of diene in EPDM changes the polymer structure to become an unsaturated polymer, meaning that the material is manufactured by curing with sulfur through vulcanization. In this chemical process, sulfur is added to cure the material, resulting in cross-links forming between the polymer chains of the material’s molecules, which makes the rubber less sticky and more durable.
Without this process, the rubber would break down more easily and would not last as long. These gaskets come in a variety of forms including foams and tapes. The rubber foam gasket can be formed into a sealant strip, which can be ideal for waterproofing, and is a closed cell material, which means that it blocks out elements completely rather than absorbing them. EPDM gasket tapes also consist of the closed cell rubber material and can be useful as a sealant in more narrow areas.
The gaskets are manufactured through die-cutting and then are made into their various forms depending on their uses.