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Does NBR Absorb Water?

2023-08-28 11:31:54    Hit:
Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR), a versatile synthetic elastomer known for its resilience and resistance, has garnered attention for its unique properties. Among the questions frequently asked about NBR rubber is whether it has the tendency to absorb water. In this article, we delve into the water absorption behavior of NBR rubber, shedding light on its characteristics and the implications for various applications.

Understanding NBR Rubber

Before delving into water absorption, it's important to understand the nature of NBR rubber. Formed through the copolymerization of acrylonitrile and butadiene, NBR rubber combines the strengths of these components. It exhibits remarkable resistance to oils, chemicals, and fuels, making it a popular choice across industries. The acrylonitrile content contributes to its hydrophobic (water-repelling) nature.

Water Absorption in NBR Rubber

Contrary to its water-resistant reputation, NBR rubber does have the potential to absorb water to a certain extent. However, this absorption is relatively low compared to other elastomers like natural rubber. The water absorption behavior of NBR rubber depends on various factors, including the specific formulation of the rubber compound and the exposure conditions.

Factors Influencing Water Absorption

Acrylonitrile Content: The acrylonitrile content in NBR rubber significantly affects its water absorption behavior. Higher acrylonitrile content leads to improved resistance to water absorption. As the acrylonitrile content increases, the polymer becomes less permeable to water molecules.
Temperature and Duration of Exposure: The temperature and duration of exposure to water play a role in the extent of water absorption. Prolonged exposure to water at higher temperatures can potentially lead to increased water absorption.
Fillers and Additives: The presence of fillers and additives in the rubber compound can influence water absorption. Some additives may enhance or reduce water absorption depending on their properties.

Applications and Water Absorption

The water absorption behavior of NBR rubber is an important consideration when choosing the material for specific applications. While NBR rubber is not known for its high water absorption, it's important to evaluate the potential consequences of water absorption in various scenarios.
1. Sealing and Gaskets: In applications where NBR rubber is used for sealing and gasket purposes, such as in engines or pipelines, the water absorption of NBR rubber may not be a significant concern. The hydrophobic nature of NBR rubber generally ensures that it maintains its sealing capabilities even in damp conditions.
2. Fluid Handling: NBR rubber is utilized in hoses and tubing for fluid handling. While it can withstand exposure to water and certain fluids without significant degradation, the potential for water absorption should be considered in applications involving prolonged fluid contact.
3. Damp Environments: In consumer goods like footwear, where NBR rubber is utilized to provide protection against damp environments, the water absorption behavior is relevant. While NBR rubber can repel water to some extent, extended exposure to water may result in some absorption, affecting the overall performance.


In conclusion, NBR rubber's water absorption behavior is a nuanced aspect that varies based on factors like acrylonitrile content, exposure conditions, and formulation. While NBR rubber is not known for high water absorption, it's important to consider the material's characteristics when selecting it for specific applications. In many scenarios, NBR rubber's hydrophobic nature ensures that it maintains its functional properties in the presence of moisture. However, for applications involving prolonged water exposure or critical sealing requirements, it's advisable to conduct thorough testing and consider the potential effects of water absorption on the material's performance. We are a NBR rubber supplier. If you are interested in our products, please contact us now!

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