Super September for Silicone

It’s definitely been a successful September for the Silicone Engineering Race Team.

Young riders Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and Ben Stafford celebrated top spot for team Silicone Engineering in two separate events.

Ben won his first BSB podium on the top step over in Assen in The Netherlands where he was competing in round 10 of the BSB series.

It was an impressive victory for Ben as it was his first trip to the circuit and he set the pace early on in the Dutch series. At the end of the qualifying sessions he was second on the grid and gave himself a great chance to achieve a podium finish.

Later in the day for the Dutch race, Stafford led all the way to the finish line, a full 5 seconds in front of the next rider and again taking top step on the podium.

Malachi made the headlines over on the Isle of Man after winning his first Isle of Man Mountain Course race with victory in the Full Factory Winners Wear Senior Race at the IMGold Manx Grand Prix.

Malachi didn’t just achieve top spot; he also broke Alan Jackson’s outright lap record and Seamus Greene’s race record which have both stood since 2005 in the process, an amazing achievement for the nineteen year old rider.

Everyone at Silicone Engineering would like to say a big congratulations to both Mal and Ben for their top finishes and hope there’s more to come!

Mixing it up!

It has been another month of improvements within our Millroom as we install yet another Winkworth Z-Blade mixer.

Adding to the four Winkworth mixers already in place, the company made the decision to invest in a fifth due to increased demand seen through 2015 and also to increase the companies mixing capabilities.

The new Winkworth is capable of mixing batches of up to 300 litres, making the processing of our silicone compounds more time efficient and reliable.

Steve Hadlington, Technical Director said “The new mixer provides us with added capabilities which will improve the effectiveness of the department along with improving internal and external customer service. It also shows the continuous investment the business is making to improve processing, which is then passed down the chain to ensure the high quality of our silicone products.

To find out more about our Mill Room and our mixing capabilities watch our video – Mill Room Video

What Temperatures Can Silicone Rubber Withstand?

It is a question Silicone Engineering get asked frequently by engineers and designers who are looking for an exact temperature point where silicone rubber will start to degrade in application.

In the majority of cases there isn’t a definitive answer that our experts can give without discussing further about the environment that the silicone will be situated and the temperature(s) the material will be exposed to.

Silicone rubber, unlike the majority of other rubbers, can withstand extreme temperatures way above 200°C and down to as low as -60°C without deforming. However, one aspect determines what actual temperatures silicone can really withstand and that is TIME – The length of time the silicone is exposed to extreme temperatures determines its lifespan and performance in application and this is a very important factor when specifying rubber materials into applications.

High temperature silicone rubber

Of course, Silicone Engineering can only speak for our grades of silicone but lets give an example; If a silicone gasket made from our high temperature grade kSil™THT is exposed to temperatures up to 300°C for intermittent periods, we can confidently say that our silicone has been tested to withstand this degree of heat for short intermittent periods and will maintain it’s physical properties. However, if an engineer informed us that the gasket will be applied in an environment where this temperature was at a constant 300°C then we would advise that the silicone would most likely degrade over a shorter life span so other material options may need to be considered.

Thermometer Frosty

The same scenario applies with our general purpose silicone grades. The material has been tested to withstand continuous temperatures of 230°C which in most cases is suitable for many high temperature applications. However, we also know that this grade will perform well at higher temperatures of 250°C for again intermittent periods, so the question ‘time of exposure’ to these temperatures needs to be estimated before we can advise on a suitable grade of silicone to use at high temperatures.

Therefore, when understanding silicone or any other elastomer used in high/low temperature environments, the period of exposure that the rubber will experience at a certain temperature is the crucial factor when trying to answer ‘What Temperatures Can Silicone Rubber Withstand’.

What we do know is that any applications exposed to continuous temperatures over 150°C will most likely require a silicone rubber to allow for efficient performance and longer life span. This is where Silicone Engineering can provide silicone solutions for many industry sectors and applications.

How hot can silicone get before it melts?

The first thing you will notice is that silicone doesn’t melt due to temperature alone!

For example, if heated up to 150°C you would see very little change in the silicone, even if held at this temperature for a very long time, At 200°C the silicone will slowly become harder and less stretchy with time, and if the silicone was heated up to a temperature beyond 300°C, you would quickly see the material become harder and less stretchy in a very short time, due to such extreme temperature conditions but it would not melt.

Special grades are available to further increase silicones already naturally high resistance to heat such as our silicone grade THT which can be used intermittently at temperatures up to 300°C. Silicones auto ignition temperature is approximately 450°C, service at such a high temperature is not recommended.

If you have another question you would like to ask one of our silicone experts, why not go to the Ask the Experts page to submit a question.

Barcelona Hosts Silicone Elastomers World Summit

The Catalan city of Barcelona is best known for its famous football team as well as its intricate architecture by Gaudi, however in December the city will be focused on silicone, as it is the destination of this year’s Silicone Elastomers World Summit 2015.

Silicone Engineering are yet again honoured and excited to be proud sponsors of the famous event where we will also be exhibiting, giving us opportunity to network with industry’s leading professionals and discuss new product developments with a captivating audience.

Since the success of last year’s event held in Vienna, the company have made the decision to return again as a show sponsor and also exhibit at the event.

The summit hosts a range of speakers from leading institutes where discussions on best practices, innovative silicone studies and new applications take place

Smithers Rapra, hosts of the event, have been providing expert information to the plastics, rubber and composite industries for over 90 years and have seen the summit grow into a leading event over the last decade.

Mirroring last year’s summit, Smithers Rapra will be coupling the Silicone Elastomers World Summit with the Thermoplastic World Summit. The two events will co-locate for the second time, with the union expected to draw over 250 industry experts to attend the summits at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel.

Silicone Engineering are already looking forward to engaging with industry advisers, exhibitors and delegates, strengthening existing industry contacts and building new ones to ensure we keep delivering silicone solutions for years to come.

To find out more about the Silicone Elastomers World Summit click here

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