The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has brought the importance of military equipment to the forefront of everyone’s minds. The war has highlighted the critical role these items play in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of military operations. From armored vehicles to personal protective equipment, military gear must be durable, reliable, and withstand harsh environments. Rubberizing is a technique frequently used to manufacture equipment for armed forces across the globe.

Using Rubber in Military Gear and Equipment

Military gear manufacturers use rubber solutions to design and construct multiple military objects. From sealing and gasketing to shock absorption and noise reduction, each type of application follows a specialized process using materials specially formulated for specific military purposes. During World War II, the production of synthetic rubber in the U.S. increased from 3,721 tons in 1942 to 756,042 tons by 1945, as demand rose for products manufactured for military use. By 1950, synthetic rubber had outpaced natural rubber as a result.

Types of Rubber Solutions

Rubber solutions come in several different materials, each with unique properties and benefits that make them suitable for specific military uses. Some of the most commonly-used rubber types are:

  • Elastomers: These are a type of polymer with elastic properties, meaning they can stretch and return to their original shape. Elastomers are an excellent choice for military gear and equipment, due to their ability to withstand various temperatures and resist chemicals and abrasion.
  • Silicone Rubber: This synthetic elastomer offers excellent resistance to high temperatures and extreme weather conditions. It is used in military equipment such as gaskets, seals, and o-rings.
  • Viton Rubber: A high-performance elastomer that offers exceptional resistance to chemicals and extreme temperatures, viton rubber is typically used to produce military equipment such as fuel systems, engine seals, and hydraulic systems.
  • Neoprene Rubber: Neoprene is a synthetic elastomer that offers excellent resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and weather conditions. It is often used in military gear such as wetsuits, gloves, and boots.
  • Other Rubber Solutions: Other rubber solutions used in military gear and equipment include EPDM rubber, which delivers robust resistance to weather and UV radiation, and butyl rubber, which provides excellent gas and moisture resistance.

Your choice of solution depends on the specific application and the desired properties, such as resistance to temperature, weather, chemicals, or abrasion. By selecting the right solution, military equipment manufacturers can ensure that their products perform optimally and withstand the rigors of wartime operations.

Using Rubber in Military Applications

Rubber solutions are used in military gear and equipment in many ways. Some of the applications we see most often include:

Sealing and Gasketing

Rubber solutions are ideal for creating airtight and watertight seals in military equipment, such as tanks, submarines, and aircraft. For example, silicone rubber is often used to make gaskets and seals for engine components, while neoprene rubber is used in wet- and dry suits to create a watertight seal.

Shock Absorption

Rubber solutions are also deployed to protect sensitive military equipment from shock and vibration. For example, elastomers can create shock mounts and bushings for electronic equipment, while silicone rubber can be used to develop shock-absorbing pads for military vehicles.

Noise Reduction

Rubber solutions can also be used to reduce noise levels in military equipment. For example, neoprene rubber is often used in acoustic insulation for submarines and other underwater vehicles. In contrast, silicone rubber is used in engine mounts and vibration dampeners to reduce noise and vibration.

Other Applications

Rubber solutions are also used in various other military gear and equipment applications. For example, EPDM rubber is often used in weatherstripping and seals for doors and windows, while butyl rubber is used in gas masks and chemical-resistant gloves.

The versatility of rubber solutions makes them a valuable component in designing and constructing military gear and equipment. By using the correct type of rubber solution in each application, military equipment manufacturers can ensure that their products perform optimally and meet the unique challenges of military operations.

Benefits of Rubber Solutions in Military Gear

The use of rubber solutions in military gear and equipment offers several benefits, including:

  • Increased Durability and Longevity of Equipment: Rubber solutions are highly durable and resistant to various environmental factors, including extreme temperatures, chemicals, and abrasion. As a result, incorporating rubber solutions into military gear and equipment can help increase their lifespan and reduce the need for frequent repairs and replacements.
  • Improved Safety for Military Personnel: Rubber solutions can also help improve the safety of military personnel by providing cushioning and shock absorption in high-impact areas, such as helmets and body armor. Additionally, rubber solutions can help create airtight and watertight seals in military equipment, which can help protect personnel from exposure to hazardous materials and environmental factors. Since the Department of Defense aims to reduce non-combat fatalities and severe injuries by 75% within the next decade, according to its Safety Management Information System, rubber is an ideal choice for military equipment.
  • Cost-Effectiveness Compared to Other Materials: Rubber solutions are often more cost-effective than other materials frequently used in military gear and equipment, such as metals and plastics. This is because rubber solutions are typically less expensive to manufacture and can offer comparable performance in terms of durability and resistance to environmental factors.
  • Customizability to Fit Specific Equipment Needs: Rubber solutions are highly customizable and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of different types of military gear and equipment. This means manufacturers can select the rubber solution that best suits each application, ensuring optimal performance and durability.

These benefits improve the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of military operations, regardless of where in the world they occur.

Given the importance of reliability and toughness in military gear and equipment, manufacturers must incorporate rubber into their designs. At MidWest Rubber Company, we specialize in providing rubberizing solutions to the military. Our team of experts can help you select the right rubber solution for each application, ensuring optimal performance, durability, and safety.

Please contact us at 810.376.2085 to learn more about our products and services and the benefits for your company.