Silicones are used in many different industries for a variety of reasons. These reasons include their stability, versatility and quick curing properties. These factors make them more valuable than other manufacturing materials for a range of industrial and commercial products.
Silicone is the primary material used to create many household items, including silicone rubber bands. These bands are a long-lasting replacement for the 2013 fad of rubber band looms, and they can be custom embossed with names or messages. Other silicone rubber items are used in a number of kitchen applications, such as cooking pans, cupcake liners and rubber spatulas. Some electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops, use silicone rubber gaskets and seals for added protection against mechanical shock, radiation and vibration. Unlike polyurethane or epoxy encapsulation, silicone rubber has a wide operating temperature range (-100 degC to 300 degC) and can resist extreme temperatures without losing its performance.
Liquid silicone is typically fashioned into its final product through a process known as liquid injection molding. During this process, the liquid silicone is pumped into a mold along with a catalyst and coloring agents or chemicals to create the desired final product. A device called a metering unit maintains a slow release of the mixture, which allows for accurate and consistent mixing. This is important to ensure a consistent product, as the molded silicone can be sensitive to inconsistencies in the mixing formula.
Once the silicone has been molded into its finished product, it is cured for a short period of time using a high-temperature cure. The resulting cured silicone is a hard, durable material with great flexibility and stability. The cured silicone also has good resistance to oils, solvents, acids and bases. Because of its chemical resistance, it is often a choice for items that come into contact with food or medical devices.
Another benefit of the cured silicone is that it is soft, nontoxic and tasteless. It is also completely non-reactive with most common household items, making it a suitable replacement for harsher chemical products. This chemical safety makes it a popular option for items like baby bottle nipples, kitchen utensils and medical items, such as surgical masks. The liquid silicone is also very low in bulk density, which allows it to fit into small spaces easily. This is a key feature that makes it useful for things like putting moisture absorbers in the bottom of shoe boxes, beef jerky packages and television bubble wrap to keep the contents dry. It can also help prevent water from leaking into displays and speakers or into buttons and switches, where it can cause them to malfunction. silicone liquid