Viton is engineered to perform without disturbance at high temperatures; it can function without signs of degradation at temperatures as high as 200°C, and its resistance to chemical-induced corrosion makes it ideal in the construction of fuel lines and other hoses and tubes used for the transmission of chemicals.
As engineers realized these qualities, the use of Viton expanded outside of the aerospace industry into the chemical processing, diving equipment and medical device engineering industries.
The industry that found the greatest number of uses for Viton was the automotive industry, which has included Viton in the construction of fuel lines, O-rings, bushings and gaskets. Because of Viton’s compatibility with hydrocarbons, it performs very well as an automotive component.
Viton and other fluoroelastomers are not without their defects. Their performance in cold temperatures has historically been very poor, as was demonstrated during the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986 when a fuel system O-ring failed, causing the spacecraft to explode shortly after takeoff.
Because Viton and other fluoroelastomers so pervade the industries in which they are applied, and because the safety of end-users can hinge on their functionality, gaskets, O-rings and other Viton products are carefully classified and regulated.
There are five families of Viton polymers. Category A (Dipolymers of VF2/HFP) Viton is used for general purpose sealing, particularly in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Category B (Terpolymers of VF2/HFP/TFE) is commonly used in chemical processing and power utility seals and gaskets. Category F Viton (Terpolymers of VF2/HFP/TFE) is intended for use in applications involving inorganic acids, water and steam. TBR Viton (TFE/Propylene) can be used in automotive applications in which pH regulation is an important consideration.
Category ETP (Copolymers of TFE/Propylene and Ethylene/TFE/PMVE) is used in ultra harsh environments such as oil exploration and production. While Viton was the first fluroelastomer, similar products have been and continue to be developed by other companies like Solvay-Solexis and 3M, which offer Tecnoflon and Dyneon, respectively.
Each proprietary variety can be an effective gasket material.