Silicone Rubber Strips, Sheets and Gaskets – Pros and Cons
With its unique properties and versatility, silicone rubber has revolutionised numerous industries. From automotive and aerospace to healthcare and electronics, silicone rubber has become a go-to choice for manufacturers seeking a high-performance material. With its exceptional durability, heat resistance, and flexibility, silicone rubber strips, sheet material and gaskets offer a wide range of benefits that make it suitable for diverse applications.
Silicone rubber is an elastomer, formed through a curing process. It starts as a gel-like material consisting of silicone polymers, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, before it is exposed to a curing process to convert into a solid, rubber-like material. There are different curing systems used, such as platinum-based curing, condensation curing and peroxide curing. The specific curing process used depends on the desired properties of the silicone rubber and the applications it will be used for.
Whilst there are many advantages to selecting silicone rubber, it does have certain limitations for some uses. If you are looking for the right material to choose for a certain application, read on to explore the key characteristics of silicone rubber and its pros and cons for different industrial applications.
Conversion into silicone rubber sheet, silicone rubber strips and gaskets
One of the key advantages of this elastomer is that it can be converted into many different products. In addition to rubber sheet material, silicone sheeting can be cut into silicone rubber strips and gaskets for use in a wide range of applications. In addition to cutting, silicone rubbers can also be moulded, extruded and fabricated to manufacture a range of 3D products.
Excellent sealing capabilities
Silicone is an excellent sealing material as it is extremely flexible, with high tensile strength. Whereas rigid gasket materials can break under repeated stress, silicone rubber maintains excellent elasticity, maintaining its desired shape and continuing to function optimally.
Silicone rubber is not only a highly flexible material, it maintains this characteristic when exposed to a range of different conditions, making it an ideal sealing material. One of its key benefits is that it has very good thermal stability, withstanding temperatures as low as -60℃ and as high as 230℃.
As well as excellent temperature resistance, silicone also performs well under exposure to ozone and UV, and has a high level of resistance to water, along with chemicals and oils. When you consider the above characteristics, it is understandable why it is commonly chosen for use in automotive, aerospace and outdoor applications, where resistance to varying temperatures, environmental exposure and various liquids and chemicals is vital.
FDA and WRAS approved
Silicone rubber is an inert material and can undergo a range of different sterilisation processes, making it an ideal material for medical, food and engineering purposes where sterile conditions are crucial. In addition to being FDA approved for use with food, silicone is also WRAS approved for use with drinking water.
The disadvantages of silicone rubber materials
Whilst silicone is highly versatile due to its many advantages, it does have some limitations. Firstly, whilst highly flexible, some grades of silicone exhibit poor tear strength compared to other elastomers. For applications in abrasive environments, with high levels of mechanical stress, silicone may not be the best suited gasket or sealing material. However, it’s important to consider that advancements in silicone technology have led to the development of grades with higher tear resistance.
Another potential con of choosing silicone is that it can be quite costly compared with natural rubber and other elastomers. Whilst choosing silicone rubber may be costly in large quantities, it’s important to weigh up these costs against the many advantages that the material brings.
If you have questions about silicone rubber strips or sheet material, or are seeking advice on material selection, contact our experienced team today. We are here to provide advice on the best materials for each application, along with the best suited manufacturing methods.