Butyl Rubber: The Definitive Guide

Butyl rubber is also IIR, a combination of isobutylene and isoprene. Moreover, butyl makes up a variety of synthetic rubber gloves and inner tubes for balls, among other things. The material was first commercially used in 1943. It stood out among others based on gas permeability and exceptional shock absorption. Let’s learn everything we know about butyl rubber to date!

Table of Contents

What is Butyl Rubber?

Gas Masks of Butyl Rubber

Butyl Rubber was the first synthesized polymer introduced to the world. The polymerization consists of 2 parts isoprene and 98 parts isobutylenes. As a result, the polymerized material offers good shock absorption characteristics, heat resistance, as well as resistance to tears and chemicals. However, the standout characteristic of butyl is its impermeability to gas and air.

Moreover, it also offers low moisture permeability, making it one of the favorite types of rubber for sealing purposes. On top of it, butyl has excellent flexible strength allowing the material for dynamic and static o-ring application use. Also, butyl can withstand extreme temperature conditions and resist high pressure. Today, the most common use of butyl involves the production of butyl inner tubes for balls, tires, etc.

Butyl Rubber Properties

Butyl, as a polymer, has multiple properties, which make it a great alternative to other types of rubber. However, as mentioned earlier, the stark difference between butyl and other synthetic rubbers arises due to the gas impermeability of butyl. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at some of the critical properties of this synthetic rubber:

butyl rubber gloves
  • If you look at the chemical structure of butyl, you will find tremendous similarities between polyethylene and polypropylene. This is because butyl is a vinyl elastomer.
  • The production process for synthetic butyl rubber does not take much time. The process takes place in low-temperature conditions. On top of it, the fast processing allows manufacturers to save tons of time and produce efficiently.
  • The production process for butyl is termed cationic vinyl polymerization. Both isoprene (2%) and isobutylene combine to form butyl.
  • The manufacturer adds isoprene through the process of vulcanization introduced and discovered by Charles Goodyear.
  • Over time, butyl saw several additions in the form of brominated, chlorinated, and other compounds of the material.
  • The vulcanization process allows butyl to have similar properties to natural rubber.

Butyl Rubber: Uses and Applications

Given its properties, synthetic butyl rubber has a wide range of applications. Most importantly because it does not let gas or air pass through it. Nevertheless, the most common butyl rubber applications include:

  • Gas Masks: Since butyl rubber does not allow gas to pass through, the material is suitable for gas masks. For this, butyl is used in the form of sheets which are then turned into the desired size and shape of a mask.
  • Tubes: probably the most useful application of butyl. Since butyl performs pretty effectively when it comes to keeping moisture and gas out, the material becomes ideal for tubing. This includes tubers for balls, tires, etc. On top of it, the low permeability also makes synthetic butyl rubber suitable for gloves.
  • Adhesives & Lubricants: butyl compounding allows manufacturers to turn it into liquid. For instance, combining other elements turns butyl into an effective lubricant. Similarly, combining the correct elements with butyl makes it an effective adhesive for multiple applications.butyl adhesive
  • Insulation Products: this also has to do with the low permeability of butyl. Since it does not allow gas or air to easily pass through, butyl acts as an excellent sealant. As a result, butyl works great as an insulation lining for windows and other areas.
  • Lab Equipment: butyl also makes up for many products we use in the biochemical labs. This is because butyl shows resistance to various chemicals and external elements. A good example includes butyl stoppers used inside labs.
  • Automotive Components: butyl has excellent shock absorption capabilities. Thus, it is a highly suitable material for suspension bushings, shock absorber components, body mounts, etc.

Butyl Rubber Benefits and Advantages

Again, to our knowledge, butyl’s best benefit is low permeability to gases. No other synthetic rubber material comes close to the level of impermeability butyl shows to gases. However, the material also has other notable benefits. These include:

butyl rubber advantages
  • Environmental Resistance: several outdoor factors fall under this category. This includes ozone, harsh weather, sunlight, etc. Butyl shows incredible resistance to all these factors. As a result, they open the way for the material to be used in various outdoor applications. On top of it, synthetic butyl rubber also resists oxidation, steam, and water.
  • Biocompatibility: butyl also has good biocompatibility. This increases the overall life of butyl products and makes them suitable for a wide range of applications. These include applications involving acids, alkalis, and even harsh weathering.
  • Temperature Resistance: a good grade of butyl rubber can withstand temperatures between -50 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the temperature rises above this limit, butyl tends to lose its capability to absorb shocks.
  • Insulation: butyl also shows excellent insulation properties. This allows it to be used for insulation, roofing, and window sealing.
  • Abrasion and Tear Resistance: butyl can withstand general wear and tear pretty effectively. It performs way better than most other synthetic rubber materials regarding tear resistance. As a result, you see butyl synthetic rubber tubing in tires and rubber balls. 
  • Vibration Resistance: Butyl also has incredible capabilities to absorb vibrations and shocks. As a result, butyl works incredibly well for car suspension components. Moreover, many audio systems also use butyl synthetic rubber components thanks to their incredible resistance to vibrations.
  • Flexibility & Durability: butyl is a highly durable and flexible material. It is one of those types of rubber that can withstand a great extent of flex before the material cracks down. As a result, you can rely on butyl products in the long run.

Butyl Rubber: The Not-So-Good Part

While butyl has tremendous potential for various applications, it also has some drawbacks. These include:

butyl rubber sealant
  • Average Compression Set: butyl responds reasonably in high compression set conditions. As a result, you might want to look at other types of rubber that perform better in terms of compression set resistance, e.g., silicone rubber, nitrile rubber, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), or natural rubber, etc.
  • Rebound: butyl does not have a good rebound rating. As a result, it can’t be used in applications where the material must have a solid rebound rating.
  • Poor Flame Resistance: butyl has poor resistance when it comes in contact with flames. However, that is true for most synthetic rubber materials, but the resistance stays pretty low in the case of butyl.

Interested In Butyl Rubber Gaskets, Grommets, And Other Parts?

People or businesses looking for butyl synthetic rubber products have many questions in their heads. As a result, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about butyl rubber.

Butyl Rubber Gaskets

How long does butyl rubber last?

Butyl rubber has good durability and flexibility. As a result, the rubber material has a long life. Typically, a good quality butyl product will last for around 8-15 years. Hence, butyl is a good choice regarding costs and replacement frequency.

Is butyl rubber good?

Gas cannot permeate through butyl. Moreover, butyl is the only elastomer that has this property. As a result, the material is good where it needs to keep gas and air out. On top of it, butyl has excellent flexibility, durability, chemical resistance, and environmental resistance.

Is butyl rubber waterproof?

Butyl performs exceptionally well when it comes to keeping water and gas out. As a result, butyl tape is waterproof as it can keep water out in stormy and wet conditions.

Is butyl the same as silicone rubber?

Both butyl and silicone rubber fall under the category of synthetic rubber material. However, butyl and silicone have different physical and mechanical properties. While butyl has more excellent durability and long-lasting life, silicone, on the other hand, offers a cheap and quick alternative.

As a result, it comes down to the specific applications and whether the material has suitable properties. You can also look for other types of rubber, including ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, nitrile rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), etc.

Conclusion

To conclude, butyl has developed a lot over the years. From being the first commercialized synthesized polymer to different variations of butyl, it has come a long way. Moreover, it has great potential to excel in various industries. As a result, the material and its products have great demand. You only need a reliable manufacturer who can do the job for you.

Reach Out to Hongju for Premium Butyl Rubber Products

Hongju Silicone is one of China’s most experienced and skilled rubber products manufacturers. We have come a long way with R&D and premium manufacturing techniques to offer the best to our customers. Also, we offer to prototype to everyone. On top of it, our process is entirely customizable, so as a customer, you get what you come for. 

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david

Hey there, I’m David!

I’m the founder of Hongju Silicone. I have been in this field for more than two decades. If you are looking for custom-made silicone rubber products, feel free to ask me any questions.

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