Liquid silicone is a versatile material that can be used in numerous manufacturing applications, including gaskets, hardware, electronics and more. Its popularity stems from its highly favorable properties, such as resistance to extreme temperatures and environmental changes.
These characteristics are what make liquid silicone rubber a top choice for manufacturers, especially in the industrial setting where products are molded on an industrial scale. It’s also a mainstay in healthcare and automotive manufacturing, where it can be found as an ingredient in medical devices and automobile components.
In addition, the high elasticity of liquid silicone makes it an ideal material for making molds that are designed to form around irregular and shaped objects. These features help to make the manufacturing process much faster and more efficient than other molding materials.
Another important characteristic of the material is its stability in extreme environments. Completely cured liquid silicone has a general operating temperature range of -100 degC to 300 degC, so it can be exposed to both heat and cold for extended periods of time without losing its elasticity or other physical properties.
Similarly, liquid silicone has excellent electrical insulating properties and is not affected by corrosion from water or other solvents. This is an extremely valuable feature when it comes to producing a variety of electrical parts, such as data cables and wires. In addition, it is resistant to corona discharge, a common phenomenon that can affect the conductivity of electronic parts and products.
This property is due to the silicon backbone in its chemical makeup. Unlike carbon bonds, the silicon bond is much stronger and more stable, and this contributes to the overall durability of the material. Furthermore, it is a non-reactive chemical, meaning that it does not react with any other chemicals and does not change its shape when exposed to oils or other solvents. It is also hypoallergenic, which is why it is a popular choice for items that are in contact with food and medical devices like baby bottle nipples and medical prostheses.
In terms of the production process, liquid silicone is typically fashioned into final products through a method called injection molding. The silicone rubber compounds, known as A and B, are shipped in two separate containers in a ratio of 1:1 and are pumped into a machine alongside any additives or coloring materials. This is done using a device called a metering unit, which allows the mixture to be controlled and injected into the mold at consistent rates for accurate molding.
This is a critical part of the production process, as it ensures that the ratio of the silicone compounds is maintained throughout the entire molding cycle and that the quality of the finished product remains consistent and repeatable. This is essential to the production of consistent, quality parts that are reliable in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. In addition, the process of transferring the liquid silicone into the mold is what determines the hardness and texture of the finished product, and it’s important to have control over these factors.