Biomaterials Rubber Seals made from Bio–Based EPDM

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Seals specialist Freudenberg uses Lanxess' bio-based Keltan Eco EPDM rubber to produce rubber seals in North America. Keltan Eco EPDM ( ethylene-propylene-diene monomer) rubber contains up to 70 percent of ethylene obtained from sugarcane, and has an impressive set of properties that is in no way inferior to that of “conventional” EPDM.

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Freudenberg Sealing Technologies produces rubber seals made of Keltan Eco EPDM in order to reduce its carbon footprint.
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies produces rubber seals made of Keltan Eco EPDM in order to reduce its carbon footprint.
(Picture: Freudenberg Sealing Technologies)

Cologne/Germany – Freudenberg Sealing Technologies started the development for the new bio-renewable rubber compound in 2012 to address the increasing standards on CO2 footprint reduction, especially in the automotive industry.

Christian Widdershoven, Head of the business line Keltan Elastomers within Lanxess’ High Performance Elastomers business unit, says: “Besides the well-recognized technical performance of Keltan EPDM polymers, Keltan Eco EPDM reduces our dependency on fossil resources and, because it is obtained from renewable sugarcane, has a significantly better CO2 footprint than petroleum-based polymers.”

Joe Walker, Global Director Advanced Materials Development at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, explains: “We had been working with polymer suppliers for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, but the polymer offerings lacked the specific characteristics we needed for our advanced manufacturing processes. So we initiated a project to research the area, and we were able to develop a material that can be used in our next generation injection molding process.”

Appplications for Bio–Based EPDM

Applications for the rubber compound based on Keltan Eco polymers include seals for coolants, steam, synthetic hydraulic fluids, brake fluids and aerospace hydraulic fluids. The newly developed material is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 150 °C, and the material has outstanding compressive stress force retention.

The specific Keltan Eco polymers used for Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ solution to the harsh requirements of fluid transport feature 45 percent bio-renewable content, which ultimately reduces the manufacturing carbon footprint. This further successfully implemented application of Keltan Eco polymers reflects the fact that Keltan EPDM polymers and their “green” variations – Keltan Eco EPDM – differ just in terms of the origin of the ethylene used in manufacturing – making the ecological difference.