Manufacturing Silicone involves a great deal of scientific research and a number of terms with which you may be unfamiliar. In order to help you better understand what we do, we’ve created this guide to some of the key terms and phrases commonly used in the industry.
Silicones are a family of polymers, composed of a backbone of repeating silicon-oxygen, with organic groups bonded to the silicon. Organic groups include one or more of the following: methyl, vinyl, phenyl, hydride, hydroxyl and trifluoropropyl, and can be varied to fine tailor the material’s properties. Silicone is used for a wide variety of purposes and multiple industries because it is stable, non-reactive and can withstand extreme temperatures and environmental conditions.
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a type of synthetic rubber primarily used in components that need to be weather resistant. Due to its stability, strength and resistance to degradation from various environmental factors, it is used to make gaskets, seals, roofing materials and automobile parts.
Silicone sponge is often used to seal, insulate and protect in applications where the material used needs to be able to absorb and reduce shock, but also return to its original shape and size.
Though silicone has been in use for a number of years now, researchers and manufacturers are still discovering new and innovative ways to utilise the material in everyday applications. In many cases, silicone is providing a green alternative in situations where environmental sustainability is an issue.
Elastomers are polymers (see silicone) that boast elastic properties. This means that the material deforms under pressure, but returns to its original shape once that pressure is relieved.
Silicone polymers that have been cross linked and have the quality of elasticity.
High Quality Standard Silicones
The term is generally used to describe those silicones used in critical, high safety applications such as public transport, oil and gas, medical etc.
A seal, composed of silicone, that fills the space between two surfaces or substrates, often to prevent leakages and/or to protect internal parts from external factors such as weather.
Silicone Rubber Compound
Silicone polymer is combined with various substances then mixed together to create different silicone compounds.
Silicone Rubber Manufacturers
Those companies and organisations that produce and distribute silicone rubber on a large scale.
A measurement of a material’s ability to return to its original thickness after being compressed to a specific percentage. The lower the percentage loss of its original thickness, the better the material at resisting permanent deformation.
Silicone Standard Product
Standard silicone products include gaskets, sealants, tubing, cookware and medical technology, amongst other things.
The process by which rubber or rubber-like polymers under-go cross linking under a source of heat. They are then made into a more durable and set form, with more useful properties (i.e greater strength, stability and elasticity).
A catch-all term for products made from silicone. It covers silicone rubber, sheeting and sponge, amongst other things.
Silicone rubber made into sheets or rolls via the manufacturing process of calendering.
Our organisation, which specialises in silicone research, development and manufacture. We supply creative, silicone-based solutions to companies in a wide variety of industries.
A specialist silicone sheeting brand exclusive to Silicone Engineering. It is manufactured in three forms; solid, sponge and fabric reinforced sheets, made to precise customer specifications. Generally used for converting into punched or waterjet gaskets.
A type of synthetic rubber. See EPDM for more details.
Platinum Cured Silicone
An alternative method for curing silicone. It is often employed due to the greater purity of the final product. Some advantages over peroxide cured silicone are – better tear resistance, higher elongation, produces no by-products and results in a clearer, more transparent silicone, making it suitable for medical uses or instances where the inspection of fluids is necessary.
Silicone membranes are often used in the vacuum forming industry. Vacuum forming machines feature a silicone membrane that gets lowered onto a composite structure. Air is then extracted forcing the silicone membrane to wrap around the composite and create immense pressure to bond the composites together. Silicone membranes are used in the manufacture of solar panels and furniture doors.
Silicone is improving efficiency in many industries. In construction, silicone sealants protect and maintain the quality of building materials. Silicone seals are also responsible for lower energy consumption in homes and lengthening the lives of many appliances by providing watertight protection.
A type of cable known for its ability to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations and difficult environmental conditions, without deforming or experiencing any negative impact on performance.
Silicone extrusions are produced in a variety of shapes and forms. Typically, silicone rubber extrusions can be made in solid or sponge silicone. General shapes are tubes, cords, profiles and sections. Silicone extrusions are used or sealing and protection in units and enclosures.
Silicone foam is typically used to make gaskets and sheets. Used to insulate, seal and protect applications in a number of industries.
Silicone tubes are primarily used in medical, pharmaceutical, food, beverage, and fragrance industries. They are extremely flexible and favoured due to their non-toxic nature and ability to withstand compression, amongst other things.
Those businesses and organisations that produce and distribute silicone-based products.
A process that involves exposing the silicone to heat for a selected time period. Intended to drive off volatiles and optimise the state of cure. This process makes the silicone a more stable finished product.
Silicone is used for a variety of purposes because of its inert, non-reactive, nontoxic nature. However, silicone products are made to different specifications and regulations depending on their intended purpose. This means not all silicone products are suitable for all situations, largely due to the fact that different curing methods and additives may be used in manufacturing.
Silicone for Food
Silicone rubber is used throughout the food industry. Manufactured to food grade standards such as FDA and BfR, silicone is commonly used as dairy/milk tubing, brewery tubing and transfer tubes in drinks vending machines. It can also be used as seals and gaskets for food machinery. Its inert and sterile properties make it safe for food contact when manufactured to the correct standards.
Silicone vs EPDM
While silicone and EPDM share many of the same properties, silicone is usually considered the more superior material due to its ability to withstand higher temperatures and its inert, sterile nature.
Silicone Water Submerging
Silicone can be submerged in both fresh and salt water for prolonged periods of time without any adverse effects, making it ideal for Marine applications. Silicone can also be used in both boiling and freezing water without adverse effects.