3 Benefits of Using Viton™ O-Rings in the Medical Industry

medical equipmentViton™ O-rings are a synthetic rubber material regarded for its exceptional fluid resistance and high-temperature applications. Well-known for its durability and versatility, Viton™ is a type of fluoroelastomer, a fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber (FKM) developed for high-performance application in the late 1950s. Today, essentially, Viton™ is the generic name for any type of FKM polymer. The strength of Viton™ makes the material exceptionally useful for a wide range of applications. It is not only an O-ring but also for other types of static seals like gaskets and other molded or extruded products. Its low permeability is considered to offer the best fluid resistance to chemicals, acids, and oils of any commercial synthetic rubber product. 

Though Viton™ applications are in use in many industrial sectors—aerospace, automotive, appliance, energy, and chemical, to name a few, because it can be formulated for FDA food-grade complaint level medical applications, the use of Viton™ O-rings is particularly well-suited for use in the medical industry. Typical medical and healthcare applications for Viton™ are mechanical seals, pumps, tanks, valves, decanters, separators, heat exchangers, and devices cleaned utilizing clean-in-place, and sterilize-in-place equipment.

Viton™’s widespread use in medical devices and equipment is mainly due to the mechanical properties it holds, which are favorable to applications used in such critical environments often found in the medical industry. The material retains its elasticity, provides excellent resistance to compression, resists oxidation, and even fungus and mold. However, as a “universal O-ring,” Viton™ has three key benefits that provide a baseline of optimal resistance to temperature, pressure, and chemicals that are often presented in medical applications, and which make it ideally suited for such applications.

High-Temperature Performance

Sterilization is vital to medical instruments, equipment, and surgical devices. They must be free of bacteria and other dangerous microorganisms before using them. Application of high heat is a common method for sterilizing devices and equipment used in medical environments such as hospitals or outpatient surgical centers. Viton™ O-rings meet the high-heat challenges necessary for sterilization. The material’s excellent thermal properties offer outstanding high-heat resistance, ranging from -5°F to +428°F (-20°C up to +220°C). It can be steamed up to +338°F (+170°C). Compared to other elastomers, Viton™ can also withstand high temperatures while simultaneously retaining its good mechanical properties better than most other elastomers. Viton seals hold indefinitely at temperatures up to 400°F (205°C) and will perform up to 48 hours at temperatures of 600°F (316°C). The resistance to oils and chemicals are also relatively unaffected at elevated temperatures. 

Strong Under Pressure

Seals used in medical applications must function under the most critical high-pressure situations, literally and figuratively. Viton™ is a remarkably strong material that holds its properties when subjected to high pressure. It is the go-to static seal known for its strength and durability. Viton™ O-rings retain their flexibility and elasticity in high-pressure applications. Whether functioning as a radial static seal for pipes or cylinders or for axial static sealing for caps, plates, or flanges, O-rings respond to pressure with an initial squeezing action that effectively seals in a radial or axial direction. As pressure increases, it is uniformly dispersed in every direction creating the perfect seal. 

Chemical Resistance

O-ring medical industry applications are often subjected to harsh chemicals, solvents, and gases that will compromise common synthetic rubber materials’ integrity. Viton™ is renowned for its excellent chemical compatibility to a wide range of chemicals, acids, oils, lubricants, and solvents. As such, it offers excellent chemical resistance in those medical applications that require seals. Viton™ is bio-friendly, too, and is compatible with food and medical grade lubricants and oils.


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