Silicones are organosilicon materials containing alternately arranged silicon and oxygen atoms in the main chain. Durability, elasticity, excellent shape memory and resistance to high and low temperatures are some of the most important features of silicone, which makes it useful in the most demanding tasks in various industries. Silicones are also characterised by hydrophobicity, non-flammability and stability of physical and chemical properties in a very broad temperature range, from -50°C to 230°C.
Durability, elasticity and resistance
This makes silicone components ideal for use in harsh and changing conditions, e.g. as seals in car engines, aircraft, and in the construction industry. The physiological inertness of silicone enables its use in tasks requiring a sterile environment, especially in medicine, in contact with the human body or in the food-related areas.
These properties are due to the fact that silicone rubber is the only one of all usable elastomers that does not contain carbon atoms in the main polymer chain. The macromolecule is made up of alternately arranged silicon and oxygen atoms, forming an extremely stable structure, analogous to quartz or glass. This different molecular structure results in the special properties of silicone products:
- Durability for over 50 years!
- Maintenance of elasticity within the range of temperature between -100°C and +350°C.
- Outstanding resistance to thermal, atmospheric and UV ageing.
- No hardening over time, because their elasticity is a structural characteristic of the polymer and not a result of modification with plasticisers.
- Anti-adhesive properties of the surface protecting against soiling and bacterial build-up.
- Hydrophobicity, allowing, for example, repeated sterilisation by boiling.
- Possibility to obtain vivid and durable colours.
- Low permanent deformation after repeated compression.
Intelligent product refinement
Processing thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) is similar to processing rigid plastic. The only difference is that they acquire elastic properties after processing. TPE products are replacing traditional EPDM rubber products in an increasing number of technical applications as a more environmentally friendly solution with a more stable final product quality.
The main advantages of TPE over EPDM are as follows:
- Very easy processing by extrusion, co-extrusion and injection moulding methods.
- Possibility to recycle 100% of production waste.
- Possibility to recycle 100% of used finished products.
- Greater repeatability in the production process.
- Greater repeatability and higher quality of finished products.
- Low processing cost