Nitrile Rubber (NBR)

Nitrile rubber, also known as NBR or Buna N, is one of the most commonly used sealing elastomers due to its resistance to petroleum based fuels and lubricants and its relatively low price. Nitrile elastomers are copolymers of acrylonitrile and butadiene. There are a number of common variations of nitrile compounds.

Acrylonitrile Content

The acrylonitrile (ACN) content of the polymer chains can be varied from 18% to 50%. Lower ACN content gives better low temperature properties but poorer fuels and polar lubricants. Higher ACN content gives poorer low temperature properties but improved fuels and polar lubricants resistance. Standard NBRs typically have 34% ACN content.

Cure system

Sulfur-Cured vs. Peroxide-Cured

Standard Nitriles are usually sulfur-cured. Sulfur-cured compounds offer better low temperature properties but are more prone to hardening with high temperatures. Peroxide-cured nitriles have better heat resistance and lower compression sets but are more expensive and are more difficult to process.

Other Common Variations

  • Nitriles are often internally lubricated to improve ease of installation or reduce friction for dynamic applications.
  • Nitriles can be formulated with only “white list” ingredients as specified in 21.CFR 177.2600 for use in applications where the elastomer will be in contact with food or beverages.
  • Nitriles can be submitted for approval by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for use in drinking water applications.
  • Nitriles can also be submitted for approval to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for use in applications as prescribed in UL157.
  • Nitrile rubber can be combined with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to create fuel, ozone and weathering resistance NBR-PVC blends.

Buna® is a registered trademark of ARLANXEO.

General Information

ASTM D 1418 Designation
Standard Color(s)
ISO/DIN 1629 Designation
Hardness Range
40-90 Shore A
ASTM D2000 / SAE J 200 Codes
Relative Cost

Service Temperatures

Standard Low Temperature
-40°C / -40°F
Special Compound Low Temperature
-55°C / -67°F
Standard High Temperature
100°C / 212°F
Special Compound High Temperature
135°C / 275°F

Performs Well In...

  • Petroleum based oils & fuels
  • Aliphatic hydrocarbons
  • Vegetable oils
  • Silicone oils & greases
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Dilute acids
  • Water to below 100°C (212°F)

Doesn’t Perform Well In...

  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Automotive brake fluid
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • Ketones
  • Ethers
  • Esters
  • Phosphate ester hydraulic fluids
  • Strong acids
  • Ozone / weathering / sunlight