Silicon Rubber

Silicon [sic] is commonly used misspelling for Silicone. Although Silicon is a constituent in Silicone, it is in fact the principal component of most semiconductor devices, most importantly integrated circuits or microchips.

Silicone is often mistakenly referred to as "silicon." Although silicones contain silicon atoms, they are not made up exclusively of silicon, and have completely different physical characteristics from elemental silicon.

The word "silicone" is derived from ketone. Dimethylsilicone and dimethyl ketone (a.k.a. acetone) have analogous formulas, thus it was surmised (incorrectly) that they have analogous structures. The same terminology is used for compounds such as silane (an analogue of methane).

A true silicone group with a double bond between oxygen and silicon (see figure) does not exist in nature; chemists find that the silicon atom forms a single bond with each of two oxygen atoms, rather than a double bond to a single atom. Polysiloxanes are called "silicone" due to early mistaken assumptions about their structure.

Silicone Rubber can withstand high temperatures without decomposing, has a wide operating temperature range, extremely good resistance to weathering, excellent electrical properties, good resistance to oils, easily colored, low level of toxicity. But it is not a very strong material, has poor resistance to fuels and is expensive when compared to other rubbers. Silicone Rubber is derived from the siloxane Polymer polydimethyl siloxane. This Polymer is an amorphous flowable substance which does not have useful properties. By adding a catalyst which causes the siloxane Polymer to cross-link, and adding a silica filler for strength, the Elastomer silicone is formed. The processes by which siloxane is converted to silicone are known as vulcanization or curing. There are two commercially significant curing processes, peroxide-curing and platinum-curing.

Some of the most useful properties of silicone include:

  • Thermal stability (constancy of properties over a wide operating range of −100 to 250 °C).
  • Though not Hydrophobic, the ability to repel water and form watertight Seals.
  • Excellent resistance to oxygen, ozone and sunlight.
  • Flexibility.
  • Good electrical insulation.
  • Nonstick.
  • Low chemical reactivity.
  • Low toxicity.
  • High gas permeability: at room temperature (25 °C) the permeability of silicone Rubber for gases like oxygen is approximately 400 times that of butyl rubber, making silicone useful for medical applications (though precluding it from applications where gas-tight Seals are necessary).

    Altec have over 30 years experience in manufacturing Plastic & Rubber Extrusions, Extruded Profiles and Tubing. We're quite rightfully proud of our reputation for consistently meeting the needs of customers over that time. Because we've remained small and focussed we've also remained more attentitive, more cost effective and more responsive than larger manufacturers.

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