Is Cork Fuel Resistant? – It Depends on the Cork.

Author: Kurt Harding   Date Posted:14 October 2019 

One of the most common applications for some of our cork gasket materials is making automotive gaskets. Therefore, a question we get asked a lot is: Is cork ok for use with fuel?

Really, it depends. It’s not the cork part that is the issue here. Pure cork granules are resistant to petrol and diesel by themselves. The point of potential failure lies in the rubber that is used to bond these cork parts together to form a sheet.

Anatomy of a Cork Gasket Sheet.

Cork Gasket Sheets are hybrid products made up of cork granules and a binder. This binding agent is usually made from rubber but, on rare occasions, can also be plastic.

Changing the binder changes the properties of the cork sheet. Increasing it will increase elasticity, decreasing it will increase the roughness of the material. As an extreme example, think of the texture of a cork notice board which has very little binder.

Part of the reason cork gasket materials weigh so much more than other types of cork sheet (such as those used in construction) is the presence and proportion of the rubber binder. It’s heavier than the cork and increases the density of the sheet.

Close up view of a Nitrile Bonded Cork SheetWhich Cork Gasket Sheets are Good with Fuel?

Generally speaking, if you’re making cork gaskets for sealing petroleum or diesel, you want to use a cork material with a Nitrile Rubber Binder (sometimes referred to by it’s short-hand code: NBR).

Within the rubber family, Nitrile has some of the best fuel resistance (rivalled only by Viton / FKM rubber which is almost never used for binding cork sheets). Unlike many other types of rubber, fuel doesn’t break Nitrile down meaning your gasket will retain its’ strength and compressibility over a long service life.

If a Nitrile Bonded Cork Sheet isn’t an option, a secondary choice would be a Neoprene bonded cork. It’s not as good as Nitrile, but it can withstand fuels to a limited degree. Personally, I wouldn’t use it but it may be good enough in a pinch.

Where Can I Get Nitrile Bonded Cork Gasket Sheets?

We are pleased to offer a range of Industrial Grade Nitrile Bonded Cork in a full selection of thicknesses and a variety of sheet sizes. You can browse our online range here and we've also linked to each of our standard sizes (there's a few) below.

We can also produce custom cut gaskets from this quality cork gasket material. For obvious reasons, these aren’t listed in our online shop but please do contact us if you’d like a quote.

Products Mentioned In This Post.

Our Small Nitrile Bonded Cork Sheet Range (250mm Wide x 310mm Long).

Nitrile Cork Gasket Sheet Small, 1.5mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 2mm x 250mm x 310mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 3mm x 250mm x 310mm
1.5mm Thick Small Sheets 2mm Thick Small Sheets 3mm Thick Small Sheets
Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 4.8mm x 250mm x 310mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 6.4mm x 250mm x 310mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 8mm x 250mm x 310mm
4.8mm Thick Small Sheets 6.4mm Thick Small Sheets 8mm Thick Small Sheets
  Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 9.5mm x 250mm x 310mm  
  9.5mm Thick Small Sheets  

Our Medium Nitrile Bonded Cork Sheet Range (510mm Wide x 1270mm Long).

Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 1.5mm x 510mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 2mm x 510mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 3mm x 510mm x 1270mm
1.5mm Thick Medium Sheets 2mm Thick Medium Sheets 3mm Thick Medium Sheets
Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 4.8mm x 510mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 6.4mm x 510mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 8mm x 510mm x 1270mm
4.8mm Thick Medium Sheets 6.4mm Thick Medium Sheets 8mm Thick Medium Sheets
  Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 9.5mm x 510mm x 1270mm  
  9.5mm Thick Medium Sheets  

Our Large (full sheet) Nitrile Bonded Cork Sheet Range (1040mm Wide x 1270mm Long).

Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 1.5mm x 1040mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 2mm x 1040mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 3mm x 1040mm x 1270mm
1.5mm Thick Large Sheets 2mm Thick Large Sheets 3mm Thick Large Sheets
Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 4.8mm x 1040mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 6.4mm x 1040mm x 1270mm Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 8mm x 1040mm x 1270mm
4.8mm Thick Large Sheets 6.4mm Thick Large Sheets 8mm Thick Large Sheets
  Premium Cork Sheet (Nitrile Bonded) TD1049 / ACN60 9.5mm x 1040mm x 1270mm  
  9.5mm Thick Large Sheets