What is Silicone Rubber and what is it used for?
What is silicone rubber?
Silicone Rubber is a high performance inorganic elastomer. Its characteristics mechanically and chemically are unmatched by organic elastomers.
The unique properties of silicone rubber make it a top choice for an enormous variety of applications in industrial and consumer markets From mobile phone covers to industrial powder coating ovens, silicone rubber has is used for producing huge quantities of product.
Properties of silicone rubber
Silicone rubber can withstand extremes of temperature and is extremely flexible. It can be moulded or extruded and is transparent in its natural state. It can be dyed solid colours and mixes of colour.
Types of silicone rubber
By far the most common type of silicone rubber, industrial grade silicone rubber is commonly available and suits any industrial application not involving food or laboratory environments.
More commonly used for consumer applications, food grade silicone is safe for all applications where contact with the mouth, food or children may be a consideration. It’s more costly than industrial grade silicone rubber.
Medical grade silicone rubber is produced for laboratory and “cleanroom” environments. The most costly of the 3 types listed, medical grade components are supplied free of any dust or swarf produced as a bi-product of the manufacturing process. Curing is slightly different with Medical grade silicone rubber too leading to increased cost.
Benefits of silicone rubber
- Silicone rubber lasts longer in more extreme conditions
- Weather has little effect — Silicone rubber stands up to the environment whatever the conditions, sun, snow, rain, it maintains its properties
- The environment can affect organic elastomers causing them to deteriorate performance
- Withstands extremes of temperature — from -100 to 316ºC (-148 to 600ºF)
- Deterioration is caused at lower temperatures with organic elastomers >100ºC (>212ºF); performance can also be hindered by rigidity <-25ºC (<-13ºF)
- You have plenty of choices
- Broad hardness range (from 10 to 80 Shore A),
- Useful range of color choices (from transparent to brightly colored)
- Improves performance of seals and fittings
- High performance electrical insulation characteristics.
- Relatively unchanged with exposure to harsher conditions (heat, cold, moisture, oil, ozone, UV rays)
- Remains flexible and resilient across a broader temperature scale
- Improves the way consumer goods look and feel
- Inert (no taste or smell); many food-contact options
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