Nitrite vs Silicone Seals: Which Is Best?

O-rings by Monroe Engineering

Nitrite and silicone are two of the most common materials in which seals are made. Whether you’re shopping for O-rings or gaskets, you can probably find them in these materials. Based on their appearance alone, nitrite and silicone seals may look the same. They are both semi-elastic with similar physical properties. Nonetheless, there are differences between nitrite and silicone seals that you shouldn’t overlook.

What Is Nitrite?

Also known as nitrile-butadiene rubber, nitrite is an elastomer that’s comprised of acrylonitrile and butadiene compounds. It’s commonly used to make medical gloves, seals and other products.

What Is Silicone?

Silicone, on the other hand, is an elastomer made of siloxane. Silicone is an odorless and colorless material that’s highly resistant to substances. It’s used to make many of the same products as its nitrite counterpart, including medical gloves and seals. O-rings and gaskets, of course, are seals. You can find them in nitrite and silicone.

Benefits of Nitrite Seals

Nitrite seals offer several benefits. For starters, they offer excellent resistance to oil. Most seals are used in applications that involve substances like oil. Machines and engines typically require seals around oil-filled mating surfaces. Thanks to their oil-resistant properties. nitrite seals are an excellent choice. They can withstand oil without sustaining damage or otherwise degrading.

In addition to oil, nitrite seals can withstand both cold and hot temperatures. They offer a high level of protection against thermal fluctuations. Seals made of other materials may crack or warp. Fortunately, this isn’t a concern with nitrite seals. Nitrite seals are naturally protected against both cold and hot temperatures.

When compared to silicone seals, those made of nitrite are better protected against abrasion. Nitrite seals typically won’t sustain abrasion-related damage. Along with oil and thermal resistance, this is another benefit of choosing nitrite seals.

Benefits of Silicone Seals

There are still reasons to consider silicone seals. Like nitrite seals, they can withstand both cold and hot temperatures. Silicone seals actually offer a slightly higher level of protection against thermal fluctuations than their nitrile counterparts.

Silicone seals also offer a high level of resistance to chemicals. Chemicals, of course, can wear down many types of materials. Corrosive chemicals, in fact, are defined by their ability to degrade and corrode materials. In applications that involve chemicals, silicone seals may be used. Silicone seals provide a high level of resistance to chemicals, making them a popular choice in these applications.