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What are the commercial applications of silicone?

The commercial applications of silicone rubber are more varied than you think. Here are some questions we are commonly asked regarding silicone’s uses within various industries.

Q: What type of rubber is used in automobiles?

When people think of rubber being part of a car, tyres come to mind as the best-known rubber application. But look deeper and you will find an array of different rubber elastomers used as various components within a car. These rubbers include: Nitrile, natural rubber, EPDM, Butyl and Neoprene, and silicone.

Completely dismantle a modern car to its individual parts, you will find 200 – 250 rubber parts, wholly or in conjunction with different materials. Modern cars are now asked to be smarter, faster and safer than ever before. Innovation is compelling car designers to consider more resilient materials to meet these modern requirements.

Enter silicone! With its natural high temperature advantage (+230°C) over the rest of its extended rubber family, silicone is fast becoming the elastomer of choice for internal and external automotive applications. For more information, read our dedicated Automotive page on the Silicone Engineering website.

Q: Where is silicone used in aircraft?

Due to its malleable nature, silicone can be shaped, moulded and bonded in many different ways to seal and protect aircraft parts such as: doors, windows, wings, overhead bins, wing edges, instrument panels, vent ducts, engine gaskets and electrical wires.

When safety and reliability are paramount, silicone can offer flexible solutions in dealing with the incredible temperatures and extreme pressures that aerospace and aviation design engineers face. Silicone Engineering has been manufacturing and supplying specialist silicone products for the aerospace sector for more than 40 years. For additional information, read our previous blog Silicone rubber in Aerospace.

Q How do trains utilise silicone effectively?

The use of silicone can be applicable to a host of mass transit applications. Silicone Engineering’s specialised silicone materials provide high performance within rail interior and exterior applications including: HVAC seals, acoustic barriers, seat cushioning, floor cushioning, electrical enclosure gaskets, gap fillers, vibration isolation and lighting seals.

Although we have various silicone formulations within our catalogue, our newest and most versatile solution yet kSil™V-0 is a closed cell, lightweight silicone sponge that has been specially formulated for the rail industry.

Approved and specified to rail industry standards such as EN 45545-2, BS 6853 Category 1 and NF F-16-101 I2 F0, they are formulated and designed to withstand temperature and environment stresses whilst improving passenger safety by meeting fire and smoke safety approvals. Compliant to European fire safety specifications EN45545-2, it is the complete silicone material for sealing and vibration dampening within rail carriages. We explore silicone materials for rail interiors in more depth here: Flexible solutions for the rail industry.

Q: What are the health and safety aspects of silicone rubber?

Silicone is one of the cleaner and safer rubbers. Being chemically stable and having less volatiles than natural rubber for instance, silicone is widely used in industries such as food manufacturing and medical, where human contact is common.

To ensure and maintain the highest safety standards, Silicone Engineering actively obtains second- and third-party approvals and specifications from many customers worldwide. We make sure our materials conform to the industry safety specifications in applications where passenger safety is critical, such as aerospace and mass transit.

Our approvals and specifications include; EN 45545-2, ISO 9001, UL94-V-0, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Boeing – BMS 1-60, Ministry of Defence (MOD), WRAS, BfR and Gasket Cutters Association just to mention a few! For additional information visit our accreditations page.

What now?

With this knowledge in mind, you should be able to identify how versatile and effective silicone is in a range of applications. To explore the commercial applications of silicone further, visit our markets web page which highlights just some of the markets we supply silicone for.

If you would like to find out more, our team of experts will be happy to answer any other enquiries you might have and go into detail to help you find the silicone product best for you.

You can contact us via the contact us page, or call us on 0845 674 4747.

About the author

Simon Holmes
 

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