The presence of ozone in the atmosphere can adversely affect many rubber products causing cracking on the surface of the material. Conducting controlled, laboratory testing of material samples against several industry standards can provide product manufacturers critical information needed to make formulation decisions.
Ozone is created when sunlight acts on various pollutants such as NOx and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air emanating from vehicle and industrial emissions. Obviously, ozone exposure is most common in heavily populated areas with high industrial activity and can affect tires and other rubber products that see frequent external exposure. In addition, electrical fields can increase the creation of ozone when used in industrial equipment such as pumps, generators and electrical cabinets affecting gaskets, orings and other rubber accessories.
When ozone comes in contact with rubber, the double and triple chemical bonds are attacked causing the cracking that is commonly seen on the surface of some rubber products. The most common types of rubber that are adversely affected by ozone include:
- Natural rubber
- Styrene-butadiene rubber
- Nitrile rubber
- ASTM D1149 – Standard Test Methods for Rubber Deterioration - Cracking in an Ozone Controlled Environment
- ASTM D1171 – Standard Test Method for Rubber Deterioration - Surface Ozone Cracking Outdoors
- BS ISO 1431-1:2012 – Rubber, vulcanized or thermoplastic. Resistance to ozone cracking. Static