Nitrile rubber, also known as NBR, Buna-N, and acrylonitrile butadiene rubber, is a synthetic rubber copolymer of acrylonitrile (ACN) and butadiene. Trade names include Perbunan, Nipol, Krynac and Europrene.
Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) is a family of unsaturated copolymers of 2-propenenitrile and various butadiene monomers (1,2-butadiene and 1,3-butadiene). Although its physical and chemical properties vary depending on the polymer’s composition of nitrile, this form of synthetic rubber is unusual in being generally resistant to oil, fuel, and other chemicals (the more nitrile within the polymer, the higher the resistance to oils but the lower the flexibility of the material).
It is used in the automotive and aeronautical industry to make fuel and oil handling hoses, seals, grommets, and self-sealing fuel tanks, since ordinary rubbers cannot be used. It is used in the nuclear industry to make protective gloves. NBR’s ability to withstand a range of temperatures from −40 to 108 °C (−40 to 226 °F) makes it an ideal material for aeronautical applications. Nitrile butadiene is also used to create moulded goods, footwear, adhesives, sealants, sponges, expanded foams, and floor mats.
Its resilience makes NBR a useful material for disposable lab, cleaning, and examination gloves. Nitrile rubber is more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids, and has superior strength, but has inferior flexibility. Nitrile gloves are therefore more puncture-resistant than natural rubber gloves, especially if the latter are degraded by exposure to chemicals or ozone.Nitrile rubber is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than natural rubber.
Nitrile rubber is generally resistant to aliphatic hydrocarbons. Nitrile, like natural rubber, can be attacked by ozone, ketones, esters and aldehydes.
Applications: The uses of nitrile rubber include disposable non-latex gloves, automotive transmission belts, hoses, O-rings, gaskets, oil seals, V belts, synthetic leather, printer’s form rollers, and as cable jacketing; NBR latex can also be used in the preparation of adhesives and as a pigment binder.
Unlike polymers meant for ingestion, where small inconsistencies in chemical composition/structure can have a pronounced effect on the body, the general properties of NBR are not altered by minor structural/compositional differences. The production process itself is not overly complex; the polymerization, monomer recovery, and coagulation processes require some additives and equipment, but they are typical of the production of most rubbers. The necessary apparatus is simple and easy to obtain. For these reasons, the substance is widely produced in poorer countries where labor is relatively cheap. Among the highest producers of NBR are mainland China and Taiwan.
In January 2008, the European Commission imposed fines totaling €34,230,000 on the Bayer and Zeon groups for fixing prices for nitrile butadiene rubber, in violation of the EU ban on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement).
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