Whether you are an engineer designing an automotive part, a medical professional working with syringes or a crafter who is using resin art mold making to bring your vision to life, liquid silicone can add value to your manufacturing process. Liquid silicone rubber has many beneficial properties, such as its flexibility, stability and resilience. In addition, it can be formulated to meet specific mechanical requirements such as its resistance to extreme heat and chemicals.
The key to the versatility of liquid silicone is its chemical structure. Silicones have an inert backbone, which means they do not react with other chemicals. Additionally, silicon bonds are more rigid than carbon bonds, which allows for greater physical strength and flexibility. This combination of chemical inertness and mechanical rigidity enables silicones to withstand temperature and stress fluctuations that would otherwise degrade other types of rubbers and plastics.
Like all elastomeric materials, silicones are formed through a polymerization reaction that creates molecular chains. In the case of LSR, vinyl and methyl siloxane groups are polymerized to form polydimethylsiloxane chains. This gives LSR its unique characteristics.
These molecules are able to withstand high temperatures, which makes them a great option for sealing and cushioning in harsh environments. Additionally, the silicone molecule can absorb and release moisture, which helps to regulate the temperature of your product. This is ideal for products that are used in hot or cold conditions, such as electronics, motors, pumps and medical devices.
Compared to thermoplastic elastomers, silicones have the ability to resist higher temperatures for longer periods of time. This is particularly important for applications that require high-temperature resistance, such as engine gaskets or hoses for hot and cold weather use.
Another advantage of silicone is its electrical properties. The silicone molecule is a natural insulator, which can help to protect wires and data cables from damage. It can also be formulated to meet specific electrical requirements, including the insulation requirements of various international standards.
One of the reasons that manufacturers use silicones to make their products is because they are very easy to injection mold. Unlike thermoplastic elastomers, silicones can be injection molded without the need for pre-heating and cooling the injection mold. This allows for more thorough and uniform mixing of the material, which leads to better consistency throughout your final product.
Injection molding with liquid silicone is also a faster and more economical process than molding with thermoplastics. With its fast cure cycles, a single 1 or 2 cavity mold can out-produce a compression or thermoset mold of the same size.
Lastly, there is a growing interest in the medical application of silicones. Syringes are an indispensable medical tool that can play a crucial role in improving patient outcomes. The understanding of how a syringe works and the materials that go into creating this critical device can provide valuable insights into the development of other innovative medical technologies. For example, a respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, is developing an evidence-based app that will enable users to track their lung function and prevent chronic diseases like COPD.