Rubber and rubber-like compositions can react and perform differently when in contact with a specific liquid under conditions of varying temperatures and time.

Rubber components used in the automotive, oil and gas, aerospace and many industrial applications are exposed to liquids which can cause volume swell and effect the overall performance and service life of the product.

What is volume swell testing?

Volume swell testing (also known as fluid resistance, change in volume, or liquids resistance) measures the deterioration of rubber and rubber-like compositions as it relates to the change in volume of the liquid that it is exposed to. This test can be undertaken on a variety of vulcanized rubber test specimens:
  • Cut from standard sheets
  • Cut from fabric coated with vulcanized rubber
  • Finished products 
It is critical to use an exact match of the liquid that will come into contact with the vulcanizate in service to predict actual results. However, many commercial liquids, particularly those of petroleum origin, are subject to sufficient variation that it is not practical to use in a test environment. It is then advisable that standard test liquids be used.

Common standards for volume swell testing

  • ASTM D471—Standard Test Method for Rubber Property—Effect of Liquids
  • ISO 1817—Rubber, vulcanized or thermoplastic -- Determination of the effect of liquids
Common standard test liquids include IRM 901, 902, 903, and 905. ASTM also calls out standard reference fuels (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K) and service liquids (101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106) that are used in both standard and custom test protocols. 
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