3 Benefits of Perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) Seals


Proper Material Choices Essential to Application Success

There are countless material compounds available for use in sealing applications. But when you need near-universal chemical and thermal performance, perfluoroelastomer seals have proven to be in a class of their own.

Perfluoroelastomer compounds, also known as FFKM for short, are elastomeric forms of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) — itself a versatile and popular material. Due to a fluorinated backbone (and higher fluorine content over fluoroelastomer or FKM compounds), perfluoroelastomers gain additional elasticity, which helps earn usage in a number of demanding applications.

The world has taken note. With a projected compound annual growth rate of 2.4%, the world market for FFKM is expected to grow from $377.3 million to $446.3 million in the next five years. The material’s unique characteristics make it a favorite in chemical processing industry (CPI) applications, particularly in North America, and it’s this market that is expected to be a major driver in that projected growth.

Why Choose Perfluoroelastomer Seals?

Let’s take a look at why this premium material is experiencing a growing demand. FFKM compounds are valued for their ability to handle the harshest conditions and most demanding environments. If you need strong chemical compatibility attributes, thermal resistance in high (or low) temperature environments — or both — perfluoroelastomers provide the best coverage available. Combined with versatility and durability, these have made FFKM compounds a go-to choice across many industries.

Here’s a breakdown of those aforementioned strengths.

Chemical Resistance

Perfluoroelastomers are the most chemically resistant elastomers available and — depending on the specific formulation — can provide strong resistance to a specific element or a broad array of potential chemicals. For example, FFKM can resist more than 1,800 different chemicals, including hydrocarbons, oils, and fuels. Additionally, a perfluoroelastomer o-ring will have high resistance to steam, various solvents, ozone, and weathering.

Because of all this, FFKM has become the desired material for many CPI applications and has been tested and proven to be the best choice when engineering sealing solutions for applications dealing with steam environments.

Thermal Stability

No other compound can offer the protection for extended periods and at the highest temperatures that FFKM provides. While the ranges vary depending on the specific formulation used, perfluoroelastomer compounds can be used to provide thermal resistance to temperatures ranging from 335 degrees Celsius (635 Fahrenheit) at the upper end of the spectrum, to -46 C (-51 F) on the colder end.

Seals operating in lower temperatures will suffer a loss in flexibility; those working in high temperatures will see material alterations, potentially leading to issues like gas absorption and rapid decompression. But by using FFKM compounds, designed and formulated for those extreme conditions, you can ensure greater stability, performance, and dependability as the materials will better adhere to their original properties.

Versatility and Reliability

PTFE itself, one of the building blocks of FFKM compounds, lends beneficial attributes as well. PTFE is known for its high flexural strength, even in low temperatures, and provides a low coefficient of friction. This means perfluoroelastomer compounds will also have excellent mechanical wear-and-tear resistance or resilience. Combined with the chemical resistance and thermal stability characteristics, FFKM compounds will give the most durability and performance in the most demanding applications. This will help avoid failures and downtime, which save money in operating costs and alleviate dangerous risks to workers, equipment, and the environment.

All of these characteristics have helped make FFKM the preferred choice for essential seals in a host of industries, including (but not limited to):

  • Automotive and Aerospace
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Paint and Ink production
  • Water and Irrigation
  • Food manufacturing and processing
  • Medical and life science

We Are Your Perfluoroelastomer Experts

For more than 40 years, Marco Rubber & Plastics has collaborated with those facing demanding applications to execute engineer-assisted custom sealing solutions. Our experience has given us the expertise to help you find or formulate the ideal solution no matter the circumstances.

With access to more than one billion sealing solutions throughout our expansive production network, we offer a wide range of FFKM materials and compounds, including major brands such as DuPont’s Kalrez® and Greene Tweed’s Chemraz® with a wide selection of specific formulations as well.

In addition, we also offer our own proprietary FFKM material — Markez® — which delivers the same high-temperature, chemically-resistant performance that is on par with any other brand but comes with greater availability and shorter lead times.

Ultimately, the performance of a perfluoroelastomer o-ring or seal will depend on how it matches the application itself, as the material formulations can vary widely. It’s important to discuss all aspects of your application with an application engineer to find and consider all the right potential solutions. With more than 14,000 repeat customers worldwide, Marco Rubber has proven it can be counted on to find the ideal match between application and sealing solution.

Seal Your Success with Perfluoroelastomer O-Rings from Marco Rubber & Plastics

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