Silicone is an extremely versatile rubber with many properties. In fact, it competes as one of the most versatile materials in the rubber industry, considering silicone’s impressive cost-to-function ratio. Silicone can offer an impressive temperature range (-148F to 500F; silicone can also be compounded to offer a wider temperature range). Silicone offers incredible physical properties, as well as being resistant to aging, ozone, heat, low temperature, chemicals, general weathering, and UV. Over the years, silicone has come to serve numerous industries, including aerospace, commercial, medical, electrical, and construction. Silicone functions in applications such as door sealing, electrical insulation, and use in electrical enclosures. Another bonus of silicone is that it is typically FDA 21 CFR 177.2600 compliant; of course, this needs to be confirmed with an FDA compliant certificate. The stable backbone of silicone rubber (Si-O-Si pattern) provides it with its incredibly stable properties over a 25-year period (SAE ARP 5316). Although, it is possible the silicone may provide functional properties well beyond the standard 25-year shelf life.
Silicone can be provided to many specifications, including, ASTM D2000 (FE, GE), A-A-59588 (superseding ZZR765, which superseded MIL-R-5847). Silicone rubber can be designated as FMQ, FVMQ, PMQ, PVMQ, MQ, VMQ per ASTM D1418 depending on the composition of the rubber and contents of its ingredients.
Silicone rubber can also be blended with other materials and particles to certify to the MIL-DTL-83528F standard. Silver plated aluminum, silver plated copper, pure silver, silver plated nickel and silver plated glass can all be dispersed into a silicone matrix to provide conductivity. These compounds are helpful in applications where the application requires a silicone solution but also needs electrical conductivity throughout the elastomer.
Silicone is typically provided red in color, (this comes from the iron oxide within the compound), but can be provided in many different colors. Normally a silicone rubber is cured with a peroxide system. The cure system is what cleaves the polymer backbone and makes the crosslinks to provide the elasticity and strength of silicone.
Silicone can be provide in many shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Standard sheet thicknesses include .020″, .031″, .062″, .125″, .250″ and .500″. Due to NEDC’s unique capabilities, NEDC can provide custom thicknesses between any of those thicknesses, including up to a 1″ in thickness.
Silicone can be provided as strips, extrusions, sheet stock, die cut parts, and waterjet cut parts. Silicone can be provided with a silicone PSA (not requiring any surface preparation) or with acrylic PSA. Silicone can be molded into o-rings, grommets, and other shapes.