Safe Storage of Rubber Products

Specialty Rubber, Tips

Environment Impacts Rubber Product Shelf Life

It is very important for the user to know, the material properties and expected shelf-life of rubber products in storage can be adversely affected by the following:

  • Temperature:

    Storage temperatures between 72° F (22° C) and 32° F (0° C) are ideal. If stored below 32° F, some products stiffen and require warming before use. Likewise, Rubber products should not be stored near sources of heat, such radiators and base heaters.

  • Humidity:

    Rubber products should not be stored under conditions of high or low humidity. Certain compounds of rubber are susceptible to mold degradation.

  • Ozone:

    To protect against the adverse effects of ozone, rubber products should not be stored near electrical equipment that may generate ozone and should not be stored for any lengthy period in geographical areas of known high ozone concentrations.

  • Sunlight:

    Avoid exposure to direct and reflected sunlight due to the ability of ultraviolet light to degrade rubber.

  • Oils, Solvents & Corrosive Liquids:

    The material properties and hence, expected shelf-life of different elastomers of rubber will be adversely affected if they are exposed to or come into contact with certain oils, solvents and/or corrosive liquids.

  • Fumes:

    As is the case with oils, solvents and corrosive liquids, certain corrosive fumes will also adversely affect the material properties and expected shelf-life of rubber.

  • Insects, Rodents & Other Vermin:

    It’s true, vermin such as insects, rodents and many others can degrade the material properties of rubber. How? They will chew it up, eat it, nest in it and worst of all urinate on it. The acid in animal urine can have an extremely adverse effect on rubber

Finally, Rubber should be stored free from super imposed tensions and compressive stresses or other potential causes of physical deformation. When packing rubber products in a strain-free condition, if possible store them in their original packaging.

Recommended Shelf Life: 

The recommended shelf life generally associated with products fabricated from various polymers is based on information provided in MIL-HDBK-695E titled “Military Standardization Handbook Rubber Products: Recommended Shelf Life.”  That information represents average shelf life under normal storage conditions and should be used for guidance purposes only.  Shelf life otherwise varies depending on product specifications and compound design.

In addition, if you liked this article check out our guide to Choosing an Elastomer.