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Rubber in the Aerospace and Aircraft Industry

December 14, 2021

The many unique properties of rubber include its strength, resiliency, chemical/water and heat resistance.  These properties make rubber an excellent engineering material choice that can withstand the range of environmental challenges that come with the aerospace and aircraft industry.  The solutions provided by rubber play an important role in helping to protect the passengers on board from the harsh conditions of flight.  These are some of the common applications for rubber in aerospace vehicles and aircraft.

Rubber Passenger Compartment Seals  

Sealing the windows and doors of the spacecraft and aircraft is essential for controlling the cabin air pressure.  The low oxygen levels at most high altitudes make it next to impossible to breathe.  Ensuring that cabin depressurization doesn’t occur is crucial for humans and many on-board systems.

Protection From Vibrations

Not controlling vibrations during landing and takeoff can be detrimental to the aircraft and be an uncomfortable ride for the people on board. To help minimize the effects of the vibrations, rubber can be used to help absorb and decouple the energy that is part of the flight experience.

Temperature Regulation and Friction Protection

The temperature outside the earth atmosphere gets extremely cold and re-entry causes friction and leads to extremely high temperatures.  The friction is caused by air moving along the outside of the aircraft.  A major property of rubber, specifically silicone, is its adaptability to temperature changes.   This property makes silicone an excellent choice in sealing and protecting spacecraft and aircraft.  Without the correct rubber technology, people on board would not survive the temperature extremes.

Resistance to Harmful Chemicals and Solvents

Nitriles and fluoroelastomers are good examples of rubber families that can resist harsh chemicals and solvents, like fuel.   Knowing the many different properties of the wide range of rubber formulas is important because some are better at performing in a specific harsh target environment, while planning to trade lower performance in certain other areas for this desirable specific property.

The tight tolerances and manufacturing precision needed for these parts leaves no room for error.  The incorrect application of a rubber has led to catastrophic failure.  That’s why it’s important to consult with one of our engineers during your development process.  We can support you to discover, diagnose and determine what material may work best and jump start your testing.   Contact us today.