Smithers upgrades low temperature retraction testing instrumentation at rubber physical testing lab in Akron, Ohio

Smithers upgrades low temperature retraction testing instrumentation at rubber physical testing lab in Akron, Ohio

Smithers has invested in upgraded low temperature retraction instrumentation at its rubber physical testing laboratory in Akron, Ohio.

The new instrument offers improved temperature control for low temperature retraction testing. Additionally, the instrument is significantly more efficient, which will allow for better turnaround times for customers and improved laboratory efficiency overall.

“Our top priority is getting accurate data to our customers on time,” said Christine Domer, General Manager, Akron Labs, Smithers. “This investment was prioritized because it will allow for high precision and faster turnaround times for our customers, so they can get their products to market sooner.”

Low temperature retraction testing is highly valuable for any rubber products that encounter low temperatures in their service environment, such as seals, o-rings, gaskets, and many aerospace products. The test determines the temperature at which a product loses its shape to such a degree that performance is compromised. For example, an o-ring is designed to create a firm seal between two parts. If service temperatures dip below what the o-ring’s compound can recover from, the o-ring could crack or break, ultimately failing to maintain a seal.

To perform the test, a rubber sample is stretched inside a water bath and cooled below freezing. The temperature of the bath is increased at a controlled rate until the rubber sample warms up enough to retract to its original shape.

“A common industry benchmark for low temperature retraction is referred to TR-10, which refers to the temperature at which the rubber sample retracts 10% from its elongated shape,” said Jeff Wible, Test Engineer, Smithers. “However, we can use this instrument to determine a product’s service range beyond industry specifications, so our customers can predict how their product will perform in the field at any temperature.”

Common testing specifications for low temperature retraction testing include:
  • ASM D1329 — Standard Test Method for Evaluating Rubber Property-Retraction at Lower Temperatures (TR Test)
  • ISO 2921 — Rubber, vulcanized — Determination of low-temperature retraction (TR test)
To speak to an expert about your testing needs, get in touch with Jeremy Elliott at 330-762-7441 or jelliott@smithers.com or Adam Hubbell at 330-762-7441 or ahubbell@smithers.com.