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Information @ a Glance

General

  • The substitution of fluorine for a hydrogen on a carbon-backbone macromolecule creates a unique class of rubbers typically referred to as fluoroelastomers.
  • FKM is the designation for about 80% of fluorinated elastomers as defined in ASTM D1418.
  • Fluorinated elastomers are perfluoro elastomers (FFKM) and tetrafluoro ethylene/propylene rubbers (FEPM).
  • FKM, is the largest category (80+%) of fluoroelastomer.
  • All FKM designated elastomers contain vinylidene fluoride (VF2), a disubstituted monomer.
  • FKM is defined as Fluoro rubber of the polymethylene type that utilizes vinylidene fluoride as a comonomer and have substituent fluoro, alkyl, perfluoroalkyl or perfluoroalkoxy groups in the polymer chain, with or without a curesite monomer.

Process

  • Fluoroelastomers are generally made in an emulsion polymerization process.
  • Fluoro-monomers such as HFP, VF2, and TFE are fed to a reactor under elevated temperature and pressure along with surfactants and other additives.
  • Once the polymerization is complete the latex is removed, the polymer coagulated and washed, and the polymer is dried and packaged for use.
  • Thermal hydrodehalogenation (THD) is a conversion technique where halons and CFCs react with hydrogen or hydrogen donor molecules at high temperature to form a mixture of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrocarbons, perfluorocarbons and mineral acids as products.

Application

  • Fluoropolymers are designed for high demanding applications in hostile environments. They represent a high level choice in applications where chemical environment and high temperatures are the dominating factors.
  • Fluorohydrocarbon elastomers (FKM) are routinely used as sealing devices for gas turbine engines, auxiliary power units, air cycle machines, filters, integrated drive generators, hydraulic servos and actuators.
  • O-rings used in fittings, connectors, valves, pumps, filters and oil reservoirs.
  • Radial lip seals used in pumps. T-seals used in high pressure fittings andconnectors

Market

  • In recent years, the new performance needs and the increased demand for high quality fluoropolymers are requiring the capability of designing and producing polymer structures using new concepts arising from material sciences and macromolecular chemistry.
  • Demand for high performance elastomers continues to grow, driven by higher technical, specification and legislative requirements in the end use sectors such as automotive, defence and petrochemical industries.
  • Western Europe is the second largest market for fluoroelastomers. It had a value of roughly DM300 million ($131 million).
  • In Japan, the production of fluoroelastomers is estimated at 1,300 metric tons. SRI expects the consumption of fluoro-elastomers in Japan to grow at an average annual rate of 5 percent.

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