Industrial equipment, off-highway vehicles, rail bogies and marine vessels all produce some form of vibration. It’s an innate characteristic of their function and operation, but too much can have a negative impact. Without the appropriate shock mounts in place, unnecessary vibration can lead to a whole host of problems. From part wear and transmission of vibration into non-insulated adjacent structures to impacting the comfort of operators and passengers. Specifying vibration control components is necessary, but which material is most successful in removing vibration?
When it comes to antivibration mounts, the typical choice is either rubber or steel. Steel components will come in the form of springs, while rubber parts will be in the form of mounts. The composition of a mount is a big consideration as it will dictate the efficiency of the component and also determines the deflection. Deflection refers to the change in a flexible elements unloaded to loaded height and essentially determines how well the isolator works – more deflection means less vibration transmission.
When it comes to comparing the deflection in the two materials, steel is undoubtedly strong but its deflection isn’t as great as rubber. Due to rubber’s elastic characteristics, it can be stretched much more than steel before it becomes deformed, and can even recover from extreme deformation of 200 per cent.
Rubber’s high load bearing capacity coupled with its low modulus of elasticity means it is more versatile than steel. What’s more, the ability to chemically manipulate the formulations of rubber to provide a broad range of characteristics means it can be customised for a diverse range of applications. For example, chemicals can be added which resist tear, abrasion, creep, sunlight and oxygen.
In comparison to metal, rubber also has sound insulation properties to prevent excess noise. Finally, when bonded to metal, the inherent strength of rubber is dramatically increased to give an even higher load capacity. For damping applications, rubber outperforms steel coil or leaf springs as the use of the latter can result in excessive vibration transmission.
Even rubbers with like-for-like properties may not perform the same in similar environments, which is where custom-engineered solutions may be required. Trelleborg’s own range of rubber compounds exceeds 300 different formulations along with many different mount designs. Its team of technical application engineers are on hand to demystify the specification process based on the desired performance characteristics.
For more information about Trelleborg’s range of rubber-to-metal bonded antivibration solutions, please visit www.trelleborg.com/en/anti-vibration-solutions