Silicone questions quick links
To help you navigate our frequently asked questions page you can click on the links below to quickly get to the answer you need.
- What is silicone?
- What are the main advantages of silicone?
- Is Silicone better than EPDM?
- How expensive is silicone?
- How is silicone affected by the environment?
- Is silicone toxic?
- Is silicone suitable for food contact?
- What is the difference between solid and sponge silicone?
- What is the temperature range of silicone?
- Can silicone be submerged in water?
- What colours are available?
- Can silicone prevent the growth of micro-organisms?
What is silicone?
Silicone is a unique synthetic polymer. Unlike all other polymers it is based on the element silicon. Find out more with our introduction to Silicone.
What are the main advantages of silicone?
Silicone shows greater resistance to extremes of temperature, both high and low, than other polymers. It can be easily pigmented to a wide range of colours and retains its flexibility over a wide range of temperatures.
- Excellent flexibility making it suitable for many applications including high speed rail
- Reduces high volume noises passing through
- Reduces vibrations and helps stabilises joins where silicone is used
- Can be used as precision sealing material including those in harsh environments
- Can provide thermal insulation to stop unwanted heat passing through
Find out the full benefits of Silicone with our handy guide.
Is Silicone better than EPDM?
In general, Silicone can be utilised in more applications than EPDM although it can be used in some situations. Have a read of a feature article on the differences between EPDM and Silicone.
- Silicone can withstand a wider range of temperatures from -60C to +230C
- Silicone does not shrink during heating unlike EPDM which can decrease by 51% when heated over 150C
- EPDM has slightly higher mechanical strength than Silicone but is less resistant to heat and cold under those conditions.
How expensive is silicone
The cost of silicone is often put down to the difficulty in harvesting, processing and the quality of the output. There are some other factors however and more on these can be found in our more detailed guide: Why is silicone more expensive that other rubbers.
How is silicone affected by the environment?
Silicone will resist the most extreme hot, cold, wet, dry and humid conditions that can be found. It is also resistant to the UV and Ozone damage that can cause other rubbers to fail.
Check out the life in service details over on our What is the shelf life of Silicone? blog.
Is silicone toxic?
Silicone is generally considered to be non toxic which is why it is the material of choice for many food and beverage processing applications and domestic kitchen items such as utensils and bake ware.
Silicone engineering have also developed a FDA approved silicone sponge sheet which can be used in many more applications within the food and beverage industry.
Is silicone suitable for food contact?
Silicone can be produced in forms that are suitable for contact with food and drinking water over a wide range of temperatures. We supply silicones that are fully compliant with FDA regulation 21CFR177.2600, EC1935/2004 as well as being WRAS approved (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) for contact with drinking water.
What is the difference between solid and sponge silicone?
Sponge silicones are produced by introducing a chemical blowing agent to the silicone compound. During the manufacturing process this releases gas, which cause a structure of tiny bubbles to form in the silicone. These bubbles enable the production of very soft and easily deformed items in silicone. The temperature and environmental performance of the sponge silicone is the same as that of the solid silicone.
What is the temperature range of silicone?
Our silicones are suitable for use in a constant temperature range of -60° to +230°C. However, some of our specially formulated grades can operate to as high as 300°C for intermittent periods.
Our Silicone temperature guide delves into the subject in more detail if you have any more questions
Can silicone be submerged in water?
Yes, silicone is not adversely affected by prolonged submersion in either fresh or salt water.
What colours are available?
Silicone can be easily pigmented into a wide range of colours and Silicone Engineering has capabilities to colour match. We have developed glow in the dark silicone and even pigments that will change colour with temperature.
Can silicone prevent the growth of micro-organisms?
Silicone naturally does not support microbiological growth. By introducing special additives to the compound it is possible to produce silicone products that will actively kill bacteria like e-coli and MRSA like our neutraSil™ anti-microbial silicone.