Vulcanized fibre is a natural blend of fibrous materials that are heat-treated to create a hard rubber. It is one of the first plastics ever developed and continues to be highly useful for sealing hardware such as plastic washers and gaskets. Fibres that may be incorporated into vulcanized rubber include wood pulp, paper, and fabric materials such as cotton, all of which add strength and toughness to plastic, while still permitting flexibility. In this article, we will explain the many benefits and why you should choose Vulcanized Fibre for your next project.Request a custom quote
How Is Vulcanized Fibre Produced?
Vulcanized fibre gets its unique qualities from a chemical reaction between natural fibres and chemical additives such as zinc chloride. When exposed to these parchmentising chemicals, the fibres dissolve slightly, creating a slurry. The slurry is then compressed through a roll or press mechanism at high temperatures to create a bond between materials without adding chemical agents. The thickness of the resultant sheet can be modified to meet manufacturer specifications, and the sheets can be laminated to further increase the material’s thickness.
Vulcanized fibre is versatile and can be custom-shaped using a wide range of fabrication methods, including forming, sawing, cutting, shearing, punching, turning, and milling. Although it is extremely resistant to wear and impact, vulcanized fibre does not perform well in temperatures over 425°F, as the material will burn and break down.
Vulcanized fibre can be formulated in a variety of grades to meet the needs of a broad range of applications. Common grades and uses include:
- Commercial-Grade Fibre:Commercial-grade vulcanized fibre is tough and resilient. It is typically available in red, white, black, or gray, and is often used to create gaskets, gears, and washers.
- Electrical-Grade Fibre:Electrical-grade vulcanized fibre, also called fish paper, consists of dielectric cotton fibres that can be used as electrical insulators. It is found in a variety of electrical motors for automotive equipment, industrial equipment, and even hand tools and home appliances.
- Trunk Fibre:Trunk fibre refers to a grade of vulcanized fibre that is exceptionally hard and abrasion-resistant. Protective skid panels, instrument cases, and steamer trunks are a few examples of products that are made with trunk fibre.
- Bone Fibre:Bone fibre is valued for its extreme density and is the hardest vulcanized fibre available. In addition to its mechanical strength, bone fibre is resistant to oils, gasoline, and solvent chemicals. These properties make it particularly useful for tubing, noiseless gears, cut-out fuses, cutting blocks, and thrust washers.
- Wood Laminating Fibre:Wood laminating fibre is tough with excellent tensile strength and torsion. It is often used to stabilize and support wood lamination and thin veneers.
- Fibre Discs:Vulcanized fibre is an excellent backing material for abrasive sanding, grinding, and polishing discs.
Key Benefits of Vulcanized Fibre
Vulcanized fibre offers a broad array of benefits over other materials, including:
- Eco-Friendly:Vulcanized fibre is almost entirely composed of cellulose and doesn’t include artificial binding agents. Compared to other plastics, the manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly and exposes consumers to fewer chemicals.
- Highly Versatile:Vulcanized fibre can be formulated for a variety of applications, from automobile components to instrument cases, abrasive discs, and electrical insulation.
- Mechanical Benefits: Vulcanized fibre exhibits a high strength-to-weight ratio and is exceptionally machinable. It typically will not break, tear, or splinter during processing.
- Chemical Resistance:Vulcanized fibre can withstand exposure to a variety of chemical solvents, oils, and grease without deteriorating.
- Cost-Effective:Vulcanized fibre is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and can be customized at minimal cost to enhance desired characteristics.
Vulcanized Fibre Parts and Components From New Process Fibre
At New Process Fibre, we have the in-depth knowledge and experience necessary to provide the perfect fibre components for your needs. For more than 93 years, we have provided stamped vulcanized fibre washers and other components that are critical across industries and sectors.
Whether you need durable washers for industrial applications, a protective instrument case, or durable fish paper, we can create the component you need with the utmost speed and efficiency. To learn more about vulcanized fibre and its many benefits and applications, contact our experts today.