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FKM Gaskets - Seal-iously? They’re Just Rubber?

FKM Gaskets – Seal-iously? They’re Just Rubber?

If you work in an industry where there’s lots of heat, pressure, and toxicity, then you might already be familiar with FKM gaskets. If you’ve never heard of FKM, chances are you’re just working in a regular office space! So even if you have no idea what an FKM gasket is, this article might be a nice reprieve from reading memos about TPS reports.

Joking aside though, we’re here today to tell you everything you never wanted to know about FKM: what it is, how it’s made, and what it’s used for.

The Ins and Outs of FKM Gaskets

FKM stands for fluorine kautschuk material, and it’s basically just rubber. If you’re wondering what “kautschuk” means, you’ll probably be shocked to learn that it also means “rubber.”

But since we’re taking the time to write about FKM rubber, then it must be pretty special, right? Well, the truth is that FKM is a very special rubber because it is extremely resistant to heat, pressure, and chemical corrosion, which makes it the perfect material for a wide range of industrial applications.

This rubber isn’t your same old balloon making material (but that would be a heck of a balloon if you did). Making FKM fluoroelastomers requires advanced techniques of polymerization and a thorough knowledge of chemistry.

So, what are FKM gaskets made from, you might ask? FKM is composed of fluorine, carbon, and hydrogen, ultimately producing a high-performance material that remains solid and flexible even when subjected to extreme conditions.

To produce FKM gaskets, the base materials are combined to create monomers, such as vinylidene fluoride and hexafluoropropylene (I know it’s a mouthful). The monomers then must undergo a process called “polymerization.” This is a chemical reaction in which a catalyst is used to start the chemical process of binding the monomers to produce polymers, which are building blocks of plastics and rubbers.

These kinds of polymers probably aren’t something you’d find underneath your sink, unless you’re type to store industrial grade solvents, but you might find some FKM gaskets around your house if you know where to look. Because of their resistance to heat and temperature changes, FKM gaskets are pretty commonly used in household appliances like water heaters and HVAC systems.

Let’s look at some of the other common uses for FKM gaskets.

What Are Some Common Uses for FKM Gaskets?

If you’re in the market for FKM gaskets, you might be aware of some of their common uses, but we’ll go ahead and mention some for the curious office workers we mentioned before.

Chemical Processing

Because FKM gaskets are made from tough, non-reactive materials, they are commonly employed in chemical processing facilities because they can be reliably used to create efficient seals in applications where they frequently come in contact with dangerous chemicals.

Oil and Gas Industry

FKM gaskets are able to withstand enormous amounts of pressure, which makes them the perfect choice for making mechanical seals in pipelines, valves, pumps, and compressors. By “mechanical seals,” what we mean is a seal that’s made from applying pressure between two components on a material that is able to provide an airtight seal.

In the oil and gas industry, pipelines and other connected components are often pressurized to facilitate the flow of chemicals throughout their refining process. This means that seals are needed that can not only withstand the mechanical pressure of being compressed between two pieces of pipe, but also support the extreme pressure that’s applied to the substances flowing through them.


FKM seals are also commonly used in automotive manufacturing and in cars themselves. FKM is the material of choice because (you guessed it) it is able to withstand the pressure, temperature, and chemicals used in making and running cars.

Cars are filled with pressurized pipes and hoses that regularly reach extremely high temperatures while the car is running. FKM gaskets and O rings to contain the various hydraulic systems and fluids that keep the car running smoothly while sealing off these components from contamination.

Energy Production

FKM gaskets are a common element of power production plants, including thermonuclear, coal, and renewable sources of energy. In thermonuclear and coal power plants, FKM gaskets provide sealing solutions for pipes filled with steam, turbines, valves, and many other important components.

FKM gaskets are also used in wind turbines to seal off gearboxes, hydraulic cylinders, bearings, and cooling systems. Turbines contain many moving parts that are exposed to extreme pressure and temperature changes, and these must be kept sealed at all times to prevent cross contamination between systems and reduce the need for frequent maintenance.

Semiconductor Production

You’ll also frequently find FKM gaskets and components throughout the semiconductor production process because they can dependably provide seals to create the almost sterile environment needed for creating semiconductors.

Because they contain tiny parts that are bound together with almost microscopic soldering processes, semiconductors must be produced in a cleanroom environment to prevent contamination. Cleanrooms are highly controlled to reduce the amount of particles, static, temperature, and humidity within the production area.

FKM gaskets can commonly be found on all of the elements that make this level of control possible.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Another type of production that relies heavily on FKM gaskets is the pharmaceutical industry. Because pharmaceutical production utilizes many different chemicals that must maintain a high level of purity, FKM gaskets are employed in this industry to keep ingredients free of contaminants.

FKM gaskets are also incorporated into many of the equipment used in pharmaceutical production, such as autoclaves, reactors, and filtration systems.

Gorilla Gaskets

Here at Gorilla Gaskets, we make everything you could possibly imagine when it comes to gaskets, seals, and customized polymer products. Our shop is fully equipped with the necessary tools for designing and creating custom gaskets and seals from any specifications or material.

Also, we have tons of saved files from the thousands of custom parts we have already made for other customers, which makes the process of designing your custom gaskets almost seamless.
If you have a specific need for a custom part, we have the materials and the know-how to make it happen, and we usually ship the same day! If you’re looking for a custom or standard solution, give us a call to talk with one of our experts.