Silicone rubber is an inorganic synthetic elastomer made from a crosslinked silicon-based polymer reinforced with filler. It offers a unique combination of chemical and mechanical properties organic elastomers cannot match.
Silicone rubber products are often produced from a premixed compound rather than a manufacturer-made compound. This facilitates the fabrication process, which then may only require a catalyst and/or curing operation. When made correctly, silicone rubber will not deteriorate, and can be used in solid form in high-strain automotive and industrial applications. Not to be confused with silicon, silicone rubber is an inorganic polymer based on a silicon-oxygen chain. It resembles a modified quartz molecule, and it retains some of quartz’s properties as well as rubber’s plastic-like qualities. Its basic polymer involves the combination of two methyl groups with each silicon-oxygen group. The methyl provides the plastic-like properties, such as flexibility, while the silicon-oxygen chain provides stability. Methyl-vinyl silicones are the most common types of silicone rubber compounds, mainly because vinyl aids in vulcanization and offers additional benefits in the material. Silicone rubber is more stable than carbon-based polymers due to the superior stability of the silicon atom in its polymer chain.
From tubing to tires and cake pans to keypads, silicone rubber is indispensable in many sophisticated manufacturing and production processes.
Silicone rubber is easy to formulate, easy to manufacture, applicable to most trades and available in varying colors and hardness. Because it comes in a variety of formulations for curing, molding and manufacturing, it helps business streamline their processing, while ensuring consistent quality production. Used with the right technologies, silicone rubber provides innovative manufacturing solutions and design opportunities.
Silicone rubber is readily cured and molded to produce materials, including automotive and electronic sealants and gaskets, tires, cables, industrial molds, food molds, artistic replications, toys and play equipment, molds, reproductions and bakeware.