3 Peaks Challenge

Our Technical Director, Steve Hadlington is taking part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge on 20/05/2017.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes place on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this sequence, with participants challenged with completing the 40km task in under 12 hours. These peaks form part of the Pennine range, and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Steve aims to raise money for the Bristol Dogs and Cats Home, RSPCA Bristol & District Branch and is hoping to gather as much support as possible. Donating to his “Just Giving” page is easy – just follow the link below.

http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/d-lees

Bristol Dogs and Cats Home and RSPCA Bristol & District Branch is close to Steve’s heart, he has already raised £4000 from a ball attended by ninety people last year. This donation went towards food, vet bills and toys for the animals, and also raised awareness of the animals that needed re-homing following abandonment. Just Giving sends your donation straight to Bristol Dogs and Cats Home and RSPCA Bristol & District Branch so it’s a quick and safe way to donate.

From everyone here at Silicone Engineering, we wish our director the best of luck and hope we can all raise funds and awareness for this good cause.

EPDM vs Silicone Rubber: Who comes out on top?

At Silicone Engineering we are committed to producing the highest quality silicone rubber for use in a variety of applications across a wide range of industry sectors.

From Rail and Mass Transit to renewable energy, silicone rubber and EPDM often go head to head as competing materials with buyers but the decision to choose one material over the other needn’t be a difficult one.

The difference between EPDM and Silicone Rubber

Find out the difference between EPDM and Silicone with our feature guide. If you have any questions or simply want to get in touch with us to disuses your needs please feel free to do so below or at the end of the guide.

Silicone rubber vs epdm - A Guide by Silicone Engineering

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.

An introduction to silicone

At Silicone Engineering, we are frequently asked many questions regarding silicone and its applications. To give you a basic understanding, we’ve compiled the top five most commonly asked questions to give you all the knowledge you need.

What is silicone?

As they say in those famous shampoo adverts: ‘here is the science bit’. Silicones are polymers, which are large molecules composed of many repeated sub-units. These polymers are made up of siloxane – a chain of alternating silicon atoms and oxygen atoms frequently combined with carbon and/or hydrogen. Silicon is an element found in sand, where it is extracted from and passed through hydrocarbons.

Why is silicone more expensive than other rubbers?

Being made from sand means that silicon is the second most abundant element on Earth, yet despite being readily available the cost is relatively high in comparison to other rubbers such as natural rubbers, Neoprene and EPDM. The reason for this is that the process of converting sand into silicon is expensive. Furthermore, while it is popular, silicone is not used as widely as some other materials so the economies of scale are low. For many businesses, though, the cost of silicone is easily justified as it’s the best in class elastomer for extreme temperature environments where other rubbers simply can’t function. We have examined the reasons for the high cost of silicone in more detail on our blog post ‘Why is silicone classed as premium rubber?’.

Why choose silicone rubber?

Silicone rubber is an elastomer and is non-reactive, stable and resistant to extreme environments and temperatures. Due to these characteristics, silicone is frequently used in Rail, cars, , aircraft , electronics and HVAC systems.

What temperatures can silicone withstand?

What makes silicone so popular for use in so many products and applications is the wide variety of temperatures it can withstand whilst maintaining its properties and physical structure. Silicone is ideal for use in continuous temperatures as low as -60°C to as high as around 230°C. However, the amount of time spent in extreme temperatures beyond these values is important. Silicone cannot withstand the highest or lowest temperatures for too long. We have written more about this in our blog post ‘What temperatures can silicone rubber withstand?’.

What is the shelf life of a silicone product?

The shelf life of your silicone product will be affected by several different factors. For example, placing your silicone product in perfect temperature controlled conditions would give it a long shelf life, generally up to 10 years. However, exposing it to extreme temperatures will degrade the material over time and therefore reducing the shelf life. We have explored this issue in more detail in our blog post: ‘What is the shelf life of a silicone product?

How can you tell the difference between Silicone and EPDM?

EPDM is frequently black, there are no noticeable visual differences between silicone and EPDM from an aesthetic view point, you can colour EPDM like silicone but you usually find the material being produced in a black or dark grey.

You can tell the difference between Silicone and EPDM by exposing a small piece to a naked flame, EPDM would burn with a black ash and black smoke whilst silicone would burn with a white ash and white smoke. The white ash and white smoke released by the silicone are actually silicon dioxide.

The white smoke is much lower in toxicity compared to other rubbers, the main item of combustion of silicone rubber is silicon dioxides.

Also, silicone rubbers tend to be easier to cut with a knife, and are easier to bend than an equivalent sized piece of EPDM.

What’s the difference between latex and silicone?

Latex is an organic rubber, the type that is extracted from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), a member of the spurge family. In regards to latex’s physical properties the rubber is super stretchy, very high tensile strength and mechanical strength but on the flipside is very vulnerable to heat! Environmental exposure latex doesn’t hold up too well when exposed to the elements, UV light and general wreathing degrade the material rapidly under conditions that silicones can withstand for years.

When it comes to service temperature range there’s no comparison, silicones can happily survive at extremes of both high and low temperature that would destroy a sample of latex.

Where is silicone rubber used?

Silicone rubber is frequently used in the following sectors

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Communication Infrastructure (EMI)
  • Construction
  • Dairy
  • Displays
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Food & Beverage
  • Heat press and vacuum forming
  • HVAC
  • Industrial
  • Marine
  • Military
  • Oil and Gas
  • White Goods

What now?

So, now you will have a basic understanding of silicone. These five queries give you a small flavour of some of the frequently asked questions, but 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.

Alternatively, view our products to find the right silicone solution for your business!

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