In Tennessee, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have published a study in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Fuels journal evaluating the compatibility of neat bio-oil produced from fast pyrolysis with six elastomer types, two fluorocarbons, six acrylonitrile butadiene rubbers (NBRs), and one type each of fluorosilicone, silicone, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polyurethane, and neoprene.
Exposure to bio-oil produced significant volume expansion in the fluorocarbons, NBRs, and fluorosilicone; however, excessive swelling (over 80%) was only observed for the two fluorocarbons and two NBR grades. The polyurethane specimens were completely degraded by the bio-oil. In contrast, both silicone and SBR exhibited lower swelling levels in bio-oil compared to neat diesel fuel. The implication is that, while polyurethane and fluorocarbon may not be acceptable seal materials for bio-oils, silicone may offer a lower cost alternative.