Elastomeric materials have a capability to withstand large deformations and still be able to fully recover their original dimensions. Natural and synthetic elastomers and their derivatives can reach strains as high as 500–1000%. Engineering materials, such as crystalline metals are classified as linear elastic solids, whereas elastomeric materials are considered as nonlinear elastic solids. Elastomers present a very complicated mechanical behavior that exceed the linear elastic theory and contain large deformations, plastic and viscoelastic properties. Finite element (FE) is a powerful tool to analyze such elastomers.
Design of elastomeric systems in an industrial scenario generally requires (i) reliability and (ii) a minimum cycle time. This paper starts with a review of the hyperelastic theory, followed by a detailed discussion on the process involved in the material characterization of hyperelastic material like DuPont™ Viton® fluoroelastomer and polyacrylic elastomer in industrial application point of view. The paper also discusses guidelines to be followed in the various stages of material characterization such as testing, sampling and finite element simulation. Numerical stability issues associated with elastomeric modeling in finite element context and a set of guidelines to be followed in finite element analysis of elastomers are illustrated through a DuPont™ Viton® fluoroelastomer and polyacrylic elastomer pad vibration isolation systems. The above technique has been applied for designing vibration isolation systems for generators.