Product engineers and designers often have the daunting task of choosing the optimal rubber for their application. Today, there is a vast array of rubber compounds to choose from, and this can introduce confusion and complexity into the material selection process. In this blog, we highlight why silicone sheet or sponge is often a preferred and straightforward material choice for many applications.
Each rubber compound has its own strengths and weaknesses. When choosing rubber materials, there is often never one rubber that will fully satisfy all the application requirements. Sometimes, tradeoffs have to be made in material selection where all the requirements are satisfied, but only to varying degrees. With this in mind, let us look at the advantages of silicone sheet or sponge.
Silicone Sheet or Sponge: Advantages
When choosing elastomers or sponges, engineers should consider the following advantages of silicone:
Wide temperature resistance. Silicone sheet or sponge has excellent resistance to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Silicone can withstand temperatures in excess of 230°C (446°F) and as low as -60°C (-76°F). This property makes silicone an ideal material choice in applications that experience either extreme heat or cold. Other rubber compounds generally perform less well within this temperature range, either breaking down in extreme heat or becoming brittle in cold temperatures.
Low compression set. In many applications, rubber material can be placed under a compressive load for a period of time. Under such conditions, some rubber compounds do not recover their original shape or thickness once the load is relieved. This “compression set” can compromise the performance of a gasket or seal. On the other hand, silicone sheet and sponge resists compression set and deformation under compressive load. This property makes it a preferred material for many sealing applications.
Food safe. Silicone is an inert polymer, meaning that it is essentially non-reactive. This property makes silicone the preferred elastomer for applications in the food and beverage industry as the material exerts little to no effect on the products themselves. For this reason, many silicone sheets and sponges are FDA-approved for use in food-grade applications.
High resistance to Ozone and UV. Unlike some other rubbers, silicone exhibits very good resistance to breakdown from Ozone and Ultraviolet (UV) light. This makes it silicone sheet or sponge an excellent material choice for outdoor applications where degradation from weathering and sunlight are a concern.
Silicone Sheet or Sponge Products from CRGI
Using silicone sheet or sponge, CRGI can fabricate an array of products which service a wide range of applications. Products we can supply include the following:
Gaskets and seals. We can supply a wide range of gaskets and seals for industrial, automotive, food grade and medical device applications.
Sleeves. Thermal shielding silicone sleeves for high temperature industrial, automotive, food grade, and medical device applications.
Tubing. Silicone tubing for both industrial and food service/medical applications.
Stripping and insulation. Fabricated from silicone sheet or sponge, stripping and insulation for industrial and automotive applications.
NVH products. Products from silicone sheet or sponge for reducing noise, vibration and harshness in industrial and automotive applications.
Die and CNC cut parts. Using our die or CNC cutting technologies, we can prototype and fabricate a variety of parts from silicone sheet and sponge.
Custom fabricated products. Our fabrication specialists can custom produce products from silicone sheet and sponge that satisfy almost any application.
Silicone sponge extrusions. Silicone extrusions are closed cell silicone lengths that can be extruded into a range of shapes. These extrusions have many application benefits, and can be used for thermal insulation, vibration damping, sealing flexibility, insulation, noise reduction and thermal shielding.
Silicone rubber solid extrusions. Extrusions we can supply include tubing, cord, profiles, and sections. Extrusions can be produced from silicone rubber in Shore A hardness from 40-80, and available in translucent, white, red, or black colours. Extrusions can be fabricated from FDA-approved materials, and are available in low smoke, low toxicity (LCH) and flame retardant (FR) styles.
If you are engineer, consider silicone sheet or sponge as a material choice for your application. To find out more about any of the silicone rubber products which CRGI can supply, please contact our sales department directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.