Sales of fluoro rubbers from the Levatherm F product family of synthetic rubber pioneer LANXESS are looking very promising. Around a year after entering into a sales partnership with Russian rubber manufacturer Halopolymer, OJSC, Moscow, the first batches of Levatherm F have already worked their way into technological applications. One area in which cost-effective fluoro rubbers from LANXESS have significant advantages over other grades of synthetic rubber is in rubber expansion joints for pipelines used to transport hot or corrosive media.
“Expansion joints are elastic couplings that can be used in any sector of industry to compensate for vibrations and linear expansion in pipelines,” said Dr. Martin Mezger, an experienced expert in synthetic rubber applications engineering at the Technical Rubber Products business unit of LANXESS. “They have to exhibit excellent damping and sealing properties,” he added, and are therefore a good example of the strength of fluoro rubbers, and depending on the intended use, a number of different synthetic rubbers are traditionally used to make expansion joints. EPDM, for example, is often used for hot water pipes, while (hydrogenated) nitrile rubber can be used for pipes carrying foodstuffs or oil.
“If pipes however are used to transport aggressive media or gases, or have to withstand high temperatures – in flue gas desulfurization or chemical plants, for instance – there is practically no way to avoid fluoro rubbers. Fluoro rubbers even outshine robust HNBR rubbers when it comes to strong acids or persistent exposure to temperatures over 160 °C. The example of expansion joints therefore shows why our customers benefit from having a wide range of synthetic rubber products to choose from. We are now able to advise our customers more comprehensively than ever before and recommend the optimal material for a greater number of applications – all from a single source.”
Even before Levatherm F rubber was included in the specialty chemical group’s synthetic rubber portfolio, LANXESS had one of the broadest ranges of products on the market. These particularly diverse and competitive grades of fluoro rubber however were the icing on the cake. Fluoro rubbers are in great demand as problem solvers in the industry – not least because of their exceptional resistance to heat.
In addition to the fluoro rubber raw polymer, LANXESS recently began offering its customers pre-compounds to facilitate the processing of these rubbers. These pre-compounds are intended, among other things, to be used in the manufacture of rapidly vulcanizing products or products with higher crosslinking density, e.g. for injection molded parts with low compression sets. Another grade is designed for processors requiring excellent process reliability. These “slower” pre-compounds are suitable, for example, for extruding hoses or manufacturing products with long flow paths in the mold. At the same time, experts at synthetic rubber pioneer LANXESS are continuing their targeted development of these fluoro rubbers.
LANXESS (lanxess.com) is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,400 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.