Cross-linking is a chemical process in which individual molecules are linked via bonds to form a network. Cross-linking is a key feature of plastics in particular, as its characteristics shape key material properties.
The degree of cross-linking is used as a criterion for dividing plastics into elastomers, thermosets and thermoplastics. Instead of directly during the synthesis of a plastic, cross-linking can also be brought about later by using a cross-linking agent.
#1 Definition of cross-linking
Chemical cross-linking describes the process of building up bonds between macromolecules that lead to a change in material properties such as hardness and tensile strength.
#2 Importance of cross-linking
Elastomers dominate as base materials in sealing technology. They are mixed with additives to create a finished compound. In the vulcanization process step, this is cross-linked by heat with the addition of cross-linking agents.
The type and degree of cross-linking are decisive for the suitability of the finished sealing elements. Central seal-relevant properties such as elasticity and hardness are influenced by the cross-linking.