Silicone’s Benefits for Molded Rubber Products

Silicone’s Benefits for Molded Rubber Products

When you're looking to create molded rubber products, you'll likely want to consider using silicone rubber. The many benefits of silicone rubber make it an attractive option compared to natural rubber. Those in the oilfield and agricultural industries regularly switch to silicone rubber due to its ability to perform in extreme temperatures, resist chemicals and provide exceptional sealing.

Find out more about what silicone is and the main properties of standard silicone and rubber silicone. Once you have a firmer grasp on silicone rubber, you might be interested in learning more about silicone elastomers' many benefits. 

 

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What Is Silicone?

Sometimes referred to as polysiloxane, silicone is an inorganic polymer created out of siloxane that's usually colorless. Silicone also typically takes the form of an oil or rubber-like substance. Since companies can synthesize silicone with many different compositions and properties, you can find silicone in various consistencies, helping it serve different applications. For example, some companies turn silicone into hard plastic or rubber, while others prefer to keep it in a gel or liquid form.

Due to silicone's versatility, many companies use it for a wide range of applications. Some of the most common applications of rubber include insulating films and paints, tubing, cooking utensils, adhesives, medicine and seals. Since silicone is so versatile, companies will also regularly process it into lubricants, solid silicone rubbers, waterproofing agents and liquids. 

While many organic materials, like natural rubber latex, feature a carbon-to-carbon backbone, silicone has a silicon-to-oxygen backbone. This unique chemical structure makes silicone more flexible, damage resistant and stable than most other organic materials. The flexibility of silicone materials allows them to be crafted into many different products with temperature properties ranging from extremely low to extremely high. Due to its extreme temperature tolerance, silicone can maintain its mechanical and elastic stability over long periods of time. 

Properties of Silicone

As an inorganic polymer, silicone has several properties that make it an excellent material for industrial applications. You can find varying kinds of silicone polymers, but all of them will have a backbone made out of alternating oxygen and silicon. The backbones of these kinds of inorganic polymers also have methyl groups along their edges. These methyl groups provide silicone polymers with unique chemical properties and help them serve different applications. 

Properties of Silicone

Some of the other common properties of silicone include:

  • Hydrophobic: Silicone comes with hydrophobic properties, meaning it repels water easily. Since it repels water and doesn't restrict breathability, companies use silicone seals to prevent water damage to various materials located under the seal. The hydrophobic properties of silicone make it essential to products needing insulation for components and those requiring waterproof films and coatings.
  • Flexible structures: Another top property of silicone is its flexibility, meaning you can fabricate it to stay as pliable and soft as you require. Due to silicone's flexibility, it lasts a long time without needing plasticizers. It also won't crack, fatigue or harden during its life. Silicone's flexible properties cause it to be a popular material for products needing repetitive unloading and loading.
  • Anti-aging resistance: Due to the many resistant properties of silicone, it ends up providing exceptional aging resistance. These resistant properties include those related to heat, UV radiation, extreme temperatures and chemical exposure. The high degree of resistance provided by silicone means it lasts for a long time and resists the effects of aging. As a result, silicone can help companies save money by reducing repair and replacement costs. 
  • Minimal rotation barriers: The backbone of silicone features low rotation energy. Since it has low rotation energy, it allows for much more rotational flexibility, meaning you have minimal rotation barriers when using it. These low rotation barriers mean you can pinch, twist, compress, stretch and bend silicone after its been vulcanized without permanently deforming it. As a result, you can often return silicone to its original shape after it's been stretched or changed in other ways. This property is extremely useful for many industrial applications. 

Properties of Silicone Rubber 

Silicone elastomers, or silicone rubbers, are a sub-type of standard silicone. Like silicone, silicone rubber has various properties that make it appropriate for a versatile range of uses. Some of the top properties of silicone rubber include:

  • UV resistance: Silicone rubber, unlike natural rubber, features a silicon-oxygen composition that makes it highly resistant to prolonged sunlight exposure. Due to its unique UV resistance properties, silicone rubber is regularly used for outdoor applications exposed to constant sunlight. 
  • Inert: Silicone is an inert material, causing it to not react to biological elements and chemicals. Its inert properties also make it hypoallergenic, meaning companies often replace other allergenic materials, such as latex or rubber, with silicone materials. 
  • Flexible: Like standard silicone, rubber silicone is very flexible, as it can flex or bend and still return to its original form. Its flexibility is often determined by the hardness of the properties of the raw silicone material utilized in its production.
  • Steam resistance and flame retardancy: Silicone rubber has high flame, steam and heat resistant properties. These properties make the material a great choice for applications dealing with high temperatures, such as engines, food preparation products and manufacturing plants.
  • Tensile strength: Another exception property of silicone rubber is its high tensile strength. The tensile strength of silicone materials regularly ranges from 200 to 1500 psi. Silicone's tensile strength is based on its compound formulation and fabrication process. This high degree of tensile strength allows companies to stretch silicone rubber far past its original dimensions without risking any ripping or cracking from the tension.
  • Metal adhesion: Due to silicone rubber's construction, it easily adheres to metal materials. During the extrusion and molding process, silicone's strong metal adhesion properties make it an excellent material to pair with metal products.
  • Compression set: Silicone rubber offers a significant amount of resistance to compression set following a completed curing process. Due to its high compression set resistance properties, silicone rubber maintains its mechanical properties for a long time.
  • Stearizable: Silicone rubber can achieve various medical-grade and food-grade ratings. Due to its chemical, radiation and temperature-resistant properties, this kind of silicone can undergo various sterilization processes without receiving any damage. Due to its sterilizable nature, you can employ silicone rubber for applications requiring a high degree of cleanliness.

Like silicone, silicone rubber has various properties that make it appropriate for a versatile range of uses.

Benefits of Silicone for Molded Rubber Products

With the many high-quality properties found in silicone rubber, it also provides companies with many benefits. When you need to use or manufacture molded rubber products, silicone is one of the best options, especially if you were originally planning on using natural rubber or labor. Some of the material's top advantages include exceptional sterilization, high performance, reliable sealing performance and a great deal of versatility.

Benefits of Silicone for Molded Rubber Products

Learn more about the benefits of silicone rubber from the list below:

1. Exceptional Sealing Qualities

Since rubber silicone can withstand very low or high temperatures, it offers exceptional sealing qualities. When silicone rubber is in a low-temperature environment, it excels at maintaining its flexibility. Similarly, it retains its stability in high-temperature environments. Due to rubber silicone's ability to retain its stability and flexibility, companies can trust it will maintain its sealing qualities in extreme temperature environments.

Alongside silicone rubber's temperature resistance, it also maintains its sealing qualities in other environments. For example, the material can have other resistant properties, with these properties guarding it against fungus, acids, oil, chemicals, bases and water. These resistant properties allow the material to retain its sealing in dangerous environments, such as those found in the oilfield industry. Though silicone rubber has various resistant properties, it's also non-toxic, allowing companies to use it as a sealing material for medical devices and consumer products and trust that it won't harm workers. 

2. High Performance Compared to Natural Rubber and Latex

Many companies turn to silicone rubber over natural rubber and latex due to the greater performance silicone offers. Compared to natural rubber, silicone offers more resistance to heat damage. It is also less susceptible to degradation and corrosion originating from long-term exposure to acidic and caustic compounds. Alongside its greater chemical protection, silicone rubber also has greater resistance to ozone attacks. Due to silicone rubber's inorganic nature, it does a better job resisting organic build-up and fungus damage. 

Silicone rubber has these advantages over natural rubber, as it features an inorganic-organic silicon-oxygen backbone. In contrast, natural rubber has a carbon-carbon backbone. Due to the inorganic nature of silicone rubber, companies can adjust inorganic rubber's properties to achieve various desired effects. Due to the customizability of this inorganic material, silicone rubber offers high performance plus great versatility for companies in industries that need these attributes. 

3. Great Sterilization Abilities

Silicone rubber is highly sterilizable, meaning it meets many FDA regulations and can be used in many applications requiring cleanliness. Since this rubber is highly sterilizable, you can use various sterilization methods on it. Some of the most common sterilization methods silicone rubber is compatible with include gamma radiation, steam autoclaving, electron beams, dry heat and ethylene oxide. The many sterilization methods that inorganic silicone rubber is compatible with makes the sterilization process very easy for users. 

Due to its compatibility with many sterilization methods, silicone is a mainstay medical-grade material used widely in the medical industry. Medical companies regularly craft medical pumps, feeding devices, implant materials and dialyzers with silicone rubber. You can also find silicone rubber used to make products requiring a high degree of cleanliness in other industries. 

4. High Versatility

Silicone offers exceptional versatility, allowing companies to use it in various applications. When you use silicone, you can easily customize it and mold it to create uniquely shaped objects and ensure they meet specialized requirements for different industries. Companies often make minor adjustments to the rubber's compound recipe to give it greater resistance properties, such as changing its temperature, acid or water resistance qualities. 

Besides changing a product's resistant properties, you can also customize its appearance. For example, you can make silicone rubber opaque or translucent. Since you can easily change its appearance, you can adjust the material's color to anything you want. Additionally, you can change the silicone's hardness and flexibility, allowing you to get the perfect design for particular applications. Due to its great deal of versatility, companies often use silicone rubber for testing new models and creating unique products.

5. Long-Lasting Performance

When you use silicone, you can expect it to last over time. Since it's highly resistant to various environmental dangers, silicone rubber is very durable. This durability allows silicone rubber products to maintain their flexibility and shape, even when they're exposed to various hazards and temperatures. The material also has exceptional rebounding properties, meaning that the silicone rubber will return to its original shape after being mechanically bent or flexed. Silicone rubber's flexibility helps it maintain its performance longer than other materials like natural rubber. 

The material also provides reliable performance due to its high degree of radiation and UV resistance. When silicone rubber is exposed to radiation and UV rays, it doesn't degrade like natural materials, even when the exposure is prolonged or repeated. Due to its long-lasting performance, you can use silicone rubber in critical applications, trusting it will deliver safety, reliability and high performance even in the toughest environments.

6. Excellent Thermal and Electrical Insulation and Conductivity

When you need thermal or electrical insulation and conductivity, silicone is an excellent option. Since silicone rubber can have high filler levels and still maintain a high degree of processability, you can use it to increase a product's thermal insulation. If you need thermal conductivity, you can also outfit silicone rubber with highly conductive fillers to help the product have high heat transfer. 

Alongside its thermal insulation and conductivity, it also offers exceptional electrical insulation and conductivity properties. When you need materials for an application requiring greater dielectric strength, silicone rubber is an excellent choice due to its high electrical insulation abilities. Like silicone rubber's ability to accept thermal conductive fillers, it can also accept electrical conductive fillers, helping products have low electrical resistance and making silicone rubber a great choice for EMI shielding.

Choose Global Elastomeric Products, Inc. for Your Silicone Rubber Needs

With all of the benefits of silicone rubber, you might be interested in using it in your applications to receive exceptional product durability, versatility and performance. At Global Elastomeric Products, Inc., we've been serving the oilfield industry since 1963, providing clients with long-lasting, durable products. Since we're an ISO 9001:2008 registered company, you can trust us to produce high-quality products made out of silicone rubber and other materials. As a one-stop shop for design and product implementation, we can create various rubber products for any agricultural or oilfield application.

Review our many product offerings to see how we can help your company today. Alongside our many standard products, we can also create custom rubber products featuring silicone rubber to help you receive the best possible solutions for your needs. Whether you need a standard or custom product, we pride ourselves on providing fast turnaround times and defect-free solutions to all our clients.

If you have any questions or want a free quote, don't hesitate to contact us today.

Choose Global Elastomeric Products, Inc. for Your Silicone Rubber Needs

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Global Elastomeric Products, Inc.

Main Phone: (661) 831-5380 
5551 District Blvd.
Bakersfield, CA 93313

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