Engineers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the appropriate rubber for a particular application. There are hundreds of products to choose from – so many in fact that it can be difficult to decide which is the best choice.
Of course, engineers begin by understanding the properties they need for the application they have in mind and will consider items such as compression set, temperature resistance, tear strength and elongation behaviour. It’s remarkable, then, how often the final choice is for a silicone rubber. Let’s look at why.
When engineers think of silicone, the first quality that usually comes to mind is its excellent resistance to both low and high temperatures. However, in most applications, the resistance must be allied to prolonged ability to resist the temperature – there are very few cases where it only needs to resist the temperature for a few minutes. So some maximum resistance temperatures may be somewhat misleading unless they are examined in tandem with data showing resistance over time or resistance during continuous exposure.
Weather and Chemical Resistance
The use of silicone in paints and coatings means that exterior paint is far more resistant to sun, wind, rain and frost. The silicone also helps the paint to adhere more easily to the surface and keeps the colouring pigment evenly dispersed through the paint. It’s used a great deal in paint for road surfaces, because oil and petrol don’t corrode the paint finish.
This is also the reason that it’s used in high-quality hoses that need to resist weather and chemicals. Silicone hose manufacturers such as https://www.goodflexrubber.com/pages/silicone-hose-manufacture produce dozens of products that are highly resilient in challenging conditions such as these.
Low Compression Set
When silicone is compressed, it’s able to recover its original shape. So when it’s used for a door seal, for example, if the door is shut the silicone is compressed, but when the door opens the silicone goes back into shape. That’s why you find silicone in oven door seals, plane doors and other demanding applications.
Sterile and Does Not Taint
Silicone’s lack of smell or taste makes it an ideal kitchen aid. But because it doesn’t easily harbour bacteria, this amazing material also has a wide range of uses for medical tubing and other applications.