February 15, 2019

Silicone rubber possess excellent features that make it applicable in various industrial applications. It possesses excellent resistance to heat, high thermal stability, excellent adhesion, good electrical insulator among others. However, despite these properties, just like other materials, silicone rubber has some limitations. We shall explore the various drawbacks of silicone rubber and application where it should not be used.

The mechanical properties of silicone rubber are relatively poor. The tear strength and tensile strength of silicone rubber is considered lower as compared to other synthetic rubbers at room temperature. As such, silicone rubber is commonly used for static applications.

Photo : Silicone Seal is often used on vessel hatch doors due to its excellent UV and ozone resistance

A derivative of silicone rubber, Fluorosilicone Rubber shows poor resistance to aldehydes, amines, brake fluids (non-petroleum based) and ketones. However, they offer excellent resistance to dilute acids and alkalines, and non-polar fluids like petroleum oils, hydrocarbon fuels, diester and silicone oils. It is important to understand the specific chemical exposures in your application so as to determine the appropriate type of material to use.

Photo : ARIS Performance Silicone Tubing 

Manufacturing silicone rubber is costly, especially when special compounds are usually added to create silicone rubber with certain chemical and mechanical properties that caters to specialized applications. Silicone rubber commands a relatively higher price as compared to other synthetic and rubber materials. The higher initial costs may be off-putting. However, silicone rubber can last approximately three to four times longer than normal rubber. This reduces the replacement costs of parts, the downtime of your equipment, and also the man-hours required to service these machinery. Hence, one should consider his or her budget as well as the operational requirements of the equipment before deciding to use silicone rubber.

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