In this research, we have investigated the effects of addition of different percentages of nanoclay to the ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) on the characteristics of these rubbers as seal material. Properties such as tensile strength, modulus at different extensions, elongation at break, compressive set, hardness, and permeability and abrasion resistance are tested to assess the effect of addition of the nanoclay. Results indicate that addition of nanoclay at certain compositions could slightly reduce the strength of the rubber. However more stable modulus at different strains are provided, the hardness of the rubber is preserved and slightly enhanced, the permeability is reduced in both rubbers especially considerable decrease in EPDM is observed which is desirable in diminishing the effect of explosive decompression. At the same time the compression test shows that the nanoclay improves the performance of the rubbers under compression which is essential in seal application. The X-ray diffraction tests clarify that the dispersion of the nanoclay in the NBR samples is of high quality. In the EPDM samples, the dispersion is in need of improvement. POLYM. COMPOS., 2009. © 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers