What is Butyl Rubber?

The Vibration Dampening Rubber Material

Working Temperature Range:

High: 250°F / 121°C Low: -60°F / -51°C

What is Butyl Rubber?

Butyl rubber is a synthetic rubber valued for its low gas and moisture permeability and vibration dampening. Molded butyl rubber also has good resistance to heat aging, abrasion and tearing, and can be a good electrical insulator.

If butyl rubber is the right material for your application, give Custom Rubber a call. Even if you aren’t sure, our team of experts can point you in the right direction. Contact Custom Rubber Corp. for answers to your butyl rubber questions.

Advantages of Butyl Rubber

One of the main advantages of butyl rubber is its excellent gas and moisture permeability, but there are several other characteristics that make it a viable option for your needs, including:

  • Excellent gas and moisture permeability
  • Excellent vibration dampening / shock absorption
  • Resistance to heat, UV and ozone
  • Chemical/biological inertness 
  • Non toxic vulcanization systems

Disadvantages of Butyl Rubber

The main disadvantage of butyl rubber is its cost. The majority of the time, a similar, less expensive, easier to work rubber material can be used in its place. There are several other disadvantages to butyl rubber, including:

  • Cost
  • Difficult to process
  • Modest working temperature range
  • Poor resistance to petroleum oils

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Commonly Asked Questions About Butyl Rubber

The following questions regarding butyl rubber applications, properties and uses are frequently asked by our customers. Custom Rubber Corp. is here to provide answers and assist in your decision making process.

Q: What is butyl rubber used for?

A: In commercial applications, butyl rubber is commonly used for making products filled with air, like innertubes and basketball bladders. The material has very low gas permeability, meaning it does not leak air. On the less consumer-based, more manufacturing side of the coin, butyl rubber is often used for products that need shock or vibration absorption. Butyl rubber is excellent for dampening vibration on a machine or engine mount.

Butyl rubber can also be found in the pharmaceutical industry in objects like syringe stoppers. The molecular structure of butyl rubber means the material is inert and won’t leech contaminates into delicate medical objects like syringes. 

Q: Where does butyl rubber come from?

A: Butyl is chemical-based, meaning it is a synthetic polymer. Butyl rubber in particular is produced by reacting bromine and chlorine. Butyl rubber is one of many different types of synthetic rubbers. We've published an article explaining the differences between natural and synthetic rubber here.

Q: What is the difference between butyl rubber and EPDM?

A: Both are synthetic rubbers, but the difference between butyl rubber and EPDM rubber is the polymers used to create both. Butyl rubber is produced by reacting bromine and chlorine while EPDM rubber is produced using ethylene. At the end of the day, the two materials have different physical characteristics, meaning they meet different needs in different applications.

Q: Is butyl rubber impermeable?

A: Butyl rubber has exceptionally low permeability, but no, this does not make it fully impermeable. 

Q: How many kinds of butyl rubber are there?

A: Like most synthetic rubbers, there are two kinds of butyl rubber, regular and halogenated. Regular butyl rubber is prepared using a standard formula “polymerizing isobutylene and a conjugated diolefin.” 

Tweaking the formula to create halogenated butyl rubber improves heat resistance and some chemical resistance. It also increases the price of the rubber and makes processing more challenging. 

Q: Does butyl rubber harden?

A: Butyl rubber can be as hard as you want when it is created. You can formulate butyl at any hardness on the Shore A durometer scale.

Q: Does butyl rubber burn?

A: Butyl rubber can burn if conditions are hot enough. However, you can formulate a butyl that does not burn if you add flame retardant elements to the formula. 

Q: Does butyl rubber stretch?

A: Butyl rubber does stretch. The degree to which it stretches depends on formulation. You can change up the recipe to make butyl rubber as elastic or inelastic as is necessary.

Q: How long does butyl rubber last?

A: The lifespan of butyl rubber depends on where it is stored and used with time. If it is used for a dynamic application where it’s often used or shaken around, it will not last as long as a static application. Butyl rubber stored in a cool, dry place will also last longer than the same material that is exposed to elements like sunlight, varying temperatures, moisture, etc. 

Q: Can Custom Rubber make butyl rubber parts?

Yes, Custom Rubber Corp. does make butyl rubber parts. The majority of our butyl rubber work is done for the manufacturing industry, especially in vibration dampening. We do not make butyl tape or inflatable bladders.

How Does Butyl Rubber Compare:

Natural NR Excellent Good -60F to 220F Poor Poor
Butyl IIR Excellent Fair -75F to 250F Good Poor
Ethylene-Propylene EPDM Good Excellent -70F to 250F Excellent Poor
Nitrile NBR Good Good -30F to 250F Poor Excellent
Neoprene / Chloroprene CR Excellent Excellent -60F to 220F Good Fair
Silicone VMQ Good Fair -175F to 450F Excellent Fair

Is butyl rubber the right material for your product? Contact Custom Rubber Corp. and our team of experts can confirm you are headed in the right direction or point you to a better option. Click here to get in touch with Custom Rubber Corp. regarding butyl rubber.


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