November 06, 2017

Going to Extremes with Fluoroelastomers


Jean-Marc Imbert, Global Product Manager at The Chemours Company, looks at how the chemistry of Viton™ fluoroelastomers keeps pace with our evolving world to deliver peak performance.

A headshot of Jean-Marc Imbert, Global Product Manager, Viton™ Fluoroelastomers, at The Chemours Company.


The urge to explore pushes us to uncover the secrets of extreme environments, from the bottom of the sea to the cold of space. As we explore the new front lines of sustainability and efficiency, we’re finding extremes that exist much closer to home. Fortunately, we at Chemours have materials like Viton™ fluoroelastomers, which are designed to withstand the harshest conditions—especially when those are found in your garage.

High-efficiency, small-displacement automobile engines wring more power out of every drop of precious fuel. That leads to higher operating temperatures and engines that must stand up to bitterly cold starts and sweltering running temperatures. That’s where Viton™ fluoroelastomers come in. Since Viton™ maintains its elastomeric properties from deep freeze to deep desert, it can safely keep quiet, high-efficiency engines running smoothly. Fluoroelastomers like Viton™ have stable chemical bonds in the backbone and cross links of the polymer that contribute to its heat resistance.

Sophisticated engines also require synthetic oils, which often include aggressive chemicals. Fortunately, those same strong chemical bonds enable seals with Viton™ to withstand assault from reactive oils, allowing internal combustion engines to achieve new extremes of performance.

Viton™ fluoroelastomers also keep electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by sealing power-dense lithium ion batteries safely. Fuel-cell cars will one day also depend on Viton™ to keep their chemical power plants operating at peak efficiency.

Viton™ is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, but it continues to adapt to our evolving world. As the demands for efficiency increase, Viton™ must keep pace, maintaining its unique properties in ever hotter, colder, and more reactive environments. Yet you might also find it in a somewhat less challenging environment—your wrist. Since Viton™ is resistant to oils, light, and heat, and is also extremely stain resistant, it can stand up to five years of hard wear as a watch band without losing its premium look and feel. So the next time you check your smart watch, think just how capable that humble-looking band really is.

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This content was featured in the Chemical & Engineering News 11/06/17 issue.