What is the best elastic dampening material?

February 03, 2015

Elastic damping materials are using for a lot of things. The same material may be a good solution for multiple applications. Damping materials are used to reduce excessive vibration, dissipate increased heat, or reduce the strain and stress of using a machine for the operator. Of these things vibration is the most common and can typically cause the most problems. Elastic materials are used because they return to their original shape after absorbing shock or vibration. Viscoelastic materials are commonly used because they turn the energy from the displacement to heat released and return to their original shape. This is a desired effect in most applications.

Usually when people ask “What is the best elastic dampening material?”, they are looking for vibrational damping. Often it is for noise reduction. They need a material with a high damping coefficient.

Sorbothane is a viscoelastic polymer with a very high damping coefficient that flows like a liquid under load. It combines shock absorption, good memory, vibration isolation and vibration damping characteristics. While many other materials exhibit one of these characteristics, Sorbothane combines all of them in a stable material with a long fatigue life over a very wide temperature range. No synthetic rubber or polymer can dissipate energy as effectively. It can be used in a wide variety of applications to reduce excessive vibration, dissipate increased heat, or reduce the strain and stress of using a machine for the operator. It is easy to cut to size so it easily can be fitted to any application. Sorbothane is very tolerant of temperature changes and can be used in extreme temperatures. It is also tolerant of most chemicals, so it may be used in environments that many other damping materials cannot.

Sorbothane has a complete range of damping material properties. It allows excessive noise and heat to be safely dissipated before it reaches the human operators. It prevents vibrational creep, the action of a machine moving out of place due to the vibrations during operation. It can also absorb some of the vibrations at joinings in some machines. New designs, especially those that use newer, composite materials, may need to use different types of bonding agents, which makes the pieces stronger but also eliminates one of the methods of damping. Sorbothane restores that ability without changing the strength or design of the machine and without impacting user safety.

Sorbothane is great in the audio and electronics area, too. Audio experts from around the world recognize Sorbothane as the leading material for absorbing and cancelling vibrations that can adversely affect audio and video performance. Sorbothane is a viscoelastic polymer. Although it’s a solid, it behaves like a liquid in relationship to vibrations. Vibrations excite the loose bonds between the Sorbothane molecules, causing them to rub against each other and change the vibration energy into quickly dissipated heat energy. Sorbothane is used in shock/vibration mounts, stud mounts, and grommets/bushings in fields such as electronics/audio equipment.

Sorbothane is very versatile. Some of the ways Sorbothane has been used are:

  • Insoles for runners
  • Tool handle wraps to lessen the strain and fatigue of the craftsman
  • Audio noise reduction
  • Shock/vibration mounts
  • Packaging for electronics
  • Floor mats to cushion against damage to items dropped
  • Lining the walls of acoustic test chambers and wave tanks.
  • Protection for the NASA shuttle camera during launch
  • Protection for the historic Liberty Bell during relocation
  • Shock absorbing pad for baseball gloves
  • Damping for displacing of wind energy and prevention of destructive oscillation during the construction of the 270 feet high Air Force Memorial
  • Shock absorption and recoil reduction for gun owners
  • Protection from drop shock damage in hand held devices such as bar code scanners, PDAs, cell phones and portable medical devices.
  • Sorbothane isolators are found in desktops, laptops and wearable PCs.
  • Isolation feet for system components such as CD/DVD players and speaker

If you don't see your use listed, contact Sorbothane for more information. We may already have a product that does it, or we custom fit your application.