9 ways EPDM rubber can transform your application or appliance

EPDM rubber is a versatile material used across multiple industries for various applications. But can it help you? Discover the different uses of EPDM and how it can serve your appliances in this handy guide.

First created in the 1960s as a replacement for tyre products, the unique chemical combination of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) has since taken a different path. With so much success across the following decades, the EPDM rubber global market is valued at $3.6 billion and predicted to reach $4.8 billion in 2027 (CAGR 5.9%). Read on to discover the secret to this material’s popularity and why it serves numerous applications and industries.

EPDM rubber is a versatile material used across multiple industries, but can it help your application or appliance? Discover 9 different uses for EPDM.

What is EPDM rubber?

EPDM rubber is a type of synthetic rubber used for sealing solutions and other applications. Containing a series of elastomers as a saturated chain of the polymethylene type, EPDM belongs to the “M-class” of synthetic rubber.

As a polymer derived from oil and natural gasses, EPDM is elastic and can return to its natural shape after being stretched. Known for its durability and flexibility, EPDM performs across multiple applications, most notably roofing solutions and vehicle window and door seals.

The acronym EPDM stands for “ethylene propylene diene monomer”. Its unique combination of monomers (chemicals) is why the material possesses a versatile arsenal of properties and characteristics.

Ethylene typically has the highest content across the three monomers at a percentage of around 45-75%. In comparison, the dienes contain a minimal percentage but provide the essential purpose of connecting the monomer components.  The unique combination of chemicals distinguishes this material as an effective sealing solution for numerous appliances.

EPDM was first invented in 1962 with the initial intention to replace natural rubber used in tyre products for cars and bicycles. After finding it was not suited for such purposes, new avenues were explored before solutions in the construction and automotive industries began emerging.

How is EPDM rubber made?

Traditionally, EPDM is made with one of the three following processes:

Through stable temperature control, the chemicals are applied with the catalyst system into a propylene reactor, where multiple polymers form within the reduction of solvents.

Through excess hydrocarbon solvent, polymerisation of ethylene occurs within the propylene and catalysts system. After the polymerisation process, stabilisers and oils are introduced before hot water or steam is applied to flash the solvent and unreactive chemicals.

The gas method doesn’t involve solvents but the continual appliance of carbon black to avoid the polymer granules sticking.

Combining chemicals, catalysts, and nitrogen in gas within the reactor creates a vertical fluidised bed before removing the solid products. The gas circulates to remove the heat and help fluidise the chemical bed.

What is EPDM rubber used for?

EPDM rubber boasts superior heat, steam, light, and ozone resistance. For these reasons, EPDM rubber provides an ideal solution to withstand harsh, external disturbances in hostile environments. With a shore hardness of 65° ± 5°, EPDM seals contain a smooth, watertight finish ideal across multiple industries, including:

  • Automotive
  • Commercial vehicle
  • Technology
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Industrial
  • Construction

Due to its unique monomer combination, EPDM rubber offers a range of effective capabilities. EPDM is also a cost-effective alternative to silicone rubber. It is most commonly used for the following reasons:

EPDM rubber can resist exposure to temperatures as high as 150°C. Therefore, the material can be used as an excellent electrical insulator. But EPDM doesn’t just resist high temperatures. Depending on the grade and formulation, EPDM rubber can maintain its elastic properties in temperatures as low as -40°C.

EPDM rubber can remain exposed to varying weather conditions and show no signs of deformation, damage, or degradation for decades. For this reason, EPDM is ideal for weatherstripping vehicles and homes, alongside providing a competent material for garden hoses and outside rubber tubing.

EPDM is also available as a sponge. Due to its soft closed cell structure, it’s an ideal insulation solution with NVH (noise vibration harshness) and acoustic qualities.  As a lightweight, temperature-resistant material, it suits insulation requirements across various industrial and commercial applications. The most common association for EPDM as an insulator remains electrical insulation requirements. 

Its resistance to moisture ingress and chemical degradation ensures it provides excellent sealing properties. As a sealing solution, EPDM rubber is applied to multiple appliances across numerous industries, including:

  • Weatherstripping
  • Refrigerator and freezer doors seals
  • Roofing
  • Face masks for industrial respirators
  • Glass run channels
  • Car door and window seals
  • Open joints

The exceptional sealing qualities of EPDM resist air, dust, and water mitigation with resistance to UV light and ozone interference. Despite being unstable to petroleum, it still provides excellent resistance to alkalines, diluted acids and ketones.

EPDM can collect heat from solar panels placed on roofs on ground levels. However, be aware that EPDM is incompatible with some asphalt shingles, which can result in roof damage. 

Another excellent use for EPDM rubber is its elastic properties. A prime example of this is EPDM applied in bungee cords with other uses including tie-downs, straps, and exhaust system hangers.

EPDM works as a cushioning appliance across applications such as edge guards and bumpers for numerous machines and equipment.

When mixed with polyurethane binders, EPDM can be sprayed or spread across ground surfaces such as concrete, screenings, brick, and wood to apply additional grip. EPDM works as safety surfacing beneath playground structures and can create a non-slip, soft, and porous safety surface for wet-deck areas such as swimming pool decks.

What’s the difference between EPDM and nitrile rubber?

Despite both rubbers being synthetic, EPDM is suited to outdoor environments, while nitrile is more resistant to oils and greases. The difference in chemicals means that both rubber solutions have complete contrasting strengths and weaknesses.

Types of EPDM rubber products

As such a versatile material that can serve so many separate purposes for different applications, EPDM is available in a wide range of products, especially in the automotive industry. Here are a few examples we provide at Ramsay Rubber:

EPDM solid rubber products work well as a seal, while EPDM sponge is more suited to insulation. Both materials and product ranges can be custom-made to suit your application requirements.

Speak to your local expert EPDM rubber manufacturer

As a UK industry leader in cellular solutions with global accreditation and over 50 years of experience, Ramsay Cellular Sealing Solutions is your go-to EPDM rubber provider. We design, manufacture, and supply an extensive range of EPDM products ideal for your sealing, resistance, or insulation requirements.

So, if you’re in the market for EPDM solid rubber or sponge, browse our product selection and get in touch today.  


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Please feel free to get in touch, to speak with one of our team of experts or simply fill out our online contact form below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Ramsay Rubber & Plastics Limited
Vulcan Road, Bilston
West Midlands WV14 7HT
T +44 (0) 1902 407150
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