Rubber is one of the most flexible materials available today. Its malleability makes it a favorite material in making sealants. It is capable of retaining its form even when put in a compact space, therefore giving the ultimate seal against water and other liquids. The rubber seals that we use nowadays are not made of pure natural rubber, because natural rubber has a softer consistency. Rubber seals are often made of sponge rubber compound.
Rubber seals are used in so many ways -- from the automotive industry to the common household. Here are just some of their uses and applications:
- For sealing glass windows. Rubber seals are used in sealing windows not only in the home but in cars as well. Window rubber seals come in strips and act as a weatherstrip. They are heat and cold resistant and are very elastic. These rubber seal strips are sold by the meter in rubber supply stores. Rubber seals that are used in car windows have a more specialized design than the ones used in home glass windows.
- For sealing doors. Basically, the rubber seals that are used in glass doors are the same as those used in sealing glass windows. However, some doors may require rubber seals of thicker quality. For instance, bi-fold and hydraulic doors in factories require specialized rubber seals both for the top and bottom parts. There are also different types of rubber seals available for garage doors. These are double channel, double T channel, double bead, and T-bulb.
- For sealing storage compartments. Rubber seal strips are used in common storage compartments in the home like cabinets and wardrobes. The rubber strips keep the moisture from coming in and prevent the development of mold. More sophisticated rubber seals, such as those that are spring elastic, are used in sealing equipment cabinets in industrial facilities.
- For canning and food storage purposes. Canning here does not mean preserving food in tin cans but preserving them in glass bottles. Rubber seals not only prevent the liquid syrup from leaking out of the bottle but also make a seal so that the food is packed in a vacuum. This prevents bacteria from getting inside the bottle and spoiling the food inside it. Some rubber seals are directly attached to the lids as with common commercially available bottled preserves. Some, on the other hand, can be detached from the lid. Homemakers who preserve foods themselves used special storage jars that have rubber seals. The rubber seals that are used for food storage are non-toxic.
- In architectural and engineering structures. The rubber seal is not only used to seal gaps in architectural and engineering structures. Water coming in through the gaps may cause the material to deteriorate. Rubber seals, especially rubber o-rings, are used to reduce the pressure of colliding parts during an earthquake.
We often do not notice the presence and importance of rubber seals in the things that we use. Rubber seals are as versatile as their rubber components, and the number of its uses and applications will surely increase over time.