In Science: Fluorocarbon Use in Aircraft and Auto Engines

Fluorocarbon compounds are comprised of fluorine and carbon. One of the key uses for fluorocarbon rubber components is in aircraft and auto engines. Due to the outstanding properties of this innovative material, it is ideal for small parts such as seals and o-rings.

There are a number of reasons why fluorocarbon and aviation go hand in hand, and why it is so widely used in the industry. In the following article we take a look at the science of fluorocarbon and the role it plays in aircraft and auto engines.

How Fluorocarbon Rubber Works

Fluoroelastomers are types of synthetic rubbers that contain fluorine. While this material does have its positive points, including resistance to heat, it isn’t capable of withstanding the demands of aircraft and auto engines. Fluorocarbon rubbers have been enhanced with increased levels of carbon and fluorine with outstanding results.

Viton fluorocarbon is a high-performance rubber that is commonly used to create o-rings. This material can be molded into seals of any shape and size, giving you the perfect fit. Common uses include aircraft engine seals and fuel handling systems seals, with leak-free results.

Withstanding Harsh Conditions

One of the downfalls of fluoroelastomers is that they have a similar chemical structure to solvents, and your tight seal can be compromised. This can be a safety hazard and can cause damage to expensive aircraft and motors. Fortunately, the adapted fluorocarbon rubbers are a more heavy-duty material and are able to withstand harsh conditions.

Fluorocarbon rubbers have a high level of temperature resistance. Standard compounds can cope with temperatures between -13°F and 446°F, and special compounds are between -40°F and 446°F. The hardness is between 55 and 90, and seals and o-rings will perform in low-compression environments. Swell from high-octane fuel blends will not affect the fluorocarbon rubber components. With durability and flexibility, this material is a reliable solution.

The Different Grades

Those who purchase fluorocarbon rubbers have a few choices to make. For example, there are three grades available with high-grade fluorocarbons, base-grade fluorocarbons and low-temperature base fluorocarbons.

The high-grade variety has high swelling resistance, the base grade works best with steam, and the low temperature is for below freezing environments. The intended application will determine which grade is right for the seals and o-rings.

There Are Some Limitations

Every material has its limitations and fluorocarbon is no exception. There are some chemicals it cannot withstand, including ketones, nitro hydrocarbons, amines and hot hydrofluoric or chlorosulfonic acids.

It is also not recommended in low temperatures where a level of flexibility is required. However, quality fluorocarbon rubbers work exceptionally well with a range of aircraft and auto engine components, making it the preferred choice in aviation.

The Wrap Up

Fluorocarbon rubbers are superior to fluoroelastomers when it comes to aircraft and auto engine use. This is a universal material with high-temperature resistance and the ability to withstand chemicals and swell.

O-rings and seals made from fluorocarbon rubbers will form a tight seal and prevent leakage and damage. While there are some limitations, when the right grade is selected, it will be an effective solution in a range of applications. This is heavily relied on within the industry due to its versatility and availability.

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