Silicone rubber is used widely across a variety of products, from baking to healthcare and beyond. To understand the characteristics of silicone rubber, we need to know where it comes from and the benefits of using it in manufacturing. Silicone is used widely in manufacturing for providing stoppers, o-rings, and other small parts.
Natural or synthetic rubber?
Natural, or latex, rubber comes directly from a rubber tree. Anything that is not made from this material is known as synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber is made from mixing various material together to produce elastomer, which has elastic properties.
Silicone is an elastomer that has these properties along with viscosity. Silicone is made from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and silicon, which comes from sand. Silicon is passed through the hydrocarbons and mixed to produce silicone. Once produced, silicone is resistant to high temperatures, making it incredibly flexible as a product. It can withstand temperatures as low as -60 degrees and as high as 300 degrees.
Within the home, you will find silicone rubber used in the kitchen for baking equipment as it can withstand the heat of an oven. It is also useful for storage because it can cope with the freezer and help seal containers so they are airtight. Silicone does not have a carbon backbone, so it can help reduce the risk of Legionella disease.
Silicone does not react with most other properties, increasing its usefulness within the healthcare industry. It can be used with medical implants and is hypo-allergenic, leading to its safety for use with baby foodstuffs and other parts such as
It is also incredibly resistant to the environment and weather, which makes it useful as an outdoor sealant and protection. Outdoor lighting, electric wires, and other components benefit from silicone protection through silicone moulding.
Silicone also works to reduce vibrations and noise. This is why you will find silicone used in transport such as planes and trains to reduce noise and the impact of friction.
In conclusion, silicone is a highly adaptable and useful material that can be used in a wide range of environments and products. Its properties make it commonplace in our lives, such as in our kitchens, and as unseen products on transport and within the medical industry.