The Advantages of Silicone for Rubber Products

Silicone rubber is a highly versatile material valued for its flexibility, biocompatibility, and resistance to temperatures, UV light, radiation, and ozone.

Its unique properties make it particularly useful in the medical, aerospace, and electrical sectors for a variety of components, including tubing, washers, gaskets, and other sealing hardware.

At Thomas A. Caserta, we specialize in manufacturing rubber products from a variety of quality rubber materials, including silicone rubber.

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Why Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber is one of the most commonly used synthetic rubbers on the market. It is composed of silicone bonded with hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen to create cross-linked polymers reinforced with silica. The result is a unique synthetic elastomer that offers the ideal balance of mechanical and chemical characteristics for the most demanding applications.

Silicone rubber offers distinct advantages over other elastomers, including:

  • Environmental resistance: Silicone rubber exhibits a high level of resistance to harsh environmental factors, including UV radiation, open flames, extreme temperatures, and corrosive chemicals.
  • Thermal stability: Silicone rubber will retain its shape, durability, and flexibility in extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Moisture sealant: Silicone rubber is water repellent and malleable, which makes it an excellent sealant.
  • Highly versatile: Silicone rubber can be molded and shaped to meet even the most detailed specifications. The formulation can be adjusted to enhance or downplay characteristics, such as electrical conductivity, flexibility, and toughness.
  • Easy sterilization: Silicone rubber can withstand high temperatures, harsh chemicals, and radiation exposure required with FDA regulated sterilization methods, making it a useful medical-grade material.
  • Color friendly: Silicone rubber is easy to color prior to the curing process, so that it exhibits a lasting, vivid shade.
  • Electrical properties: Silicone rubber is an excellent electrical insulator, however the addition of metal or carbon black can improve its conductive properties.
  • Range of hardness: Silicone rubber can be formulated to exhibit different ranges of flexibility and hardness, depending on the needs of the application.
  • Durable and reliable: Silicone is highly durable and retains its shape and flexibility in extreme conditions, making it a particularly reliable material for use in critical applications.

With its ability to conform to the needs of nearly any application, it is no surprise that silicone rubber is one of the most widely used materials.

Properties of Silicone Rubber

silicone rubber parts

Silicone rubber exhibits unique physical, mechanical, and chemical properties that enhance its usefulness, including:

  • Flame retardant: Silicone rubber exhibits high thermal stability.
  • Steam resistant: Its high thermal stability also allows silicone rubber to retain its shape and consistency when exposed to high temperature steam.
  • Food-grade and medical-grade ratings: Silicone rubber is highly resistant to temperatures, chemicals, and radiation used for the sterilization of food processing and medical equipment, making it an ideal food-grade and medical-grade material.
  • Excellent compression set: Silicone rubber exhibits a high compression set, and will retain its shape under high levels of repeated or extended compression and extreme temperatures.
  • UV and radiation resistance: Silicone rubber will not degrade with repeated or prolonged exposure to UV or other types of radiation.
  • Rebound and resilience: Depending on the formulation, silicone rubber is highly flexible and will rebound or return to its original shape and configuration after it is flexed or bent.
  • Metal adhesion: Silicone rubber exhibits excellent adhesion to metals, particularly during molding and extrusion processes.
  • High tensile strength: Depending on the formulation and manufacturing process, silicone rubber exhibits tensile strength from 200 to 1,500 psi.
  • Chemically and biologically inert: Silicone rubber reacts to very few chemical or biological agents.

Silicone rubber’s highly resistant, physically resilient, and durable nature makes it ideal for molded rubber components in a broad range of temperatures and environments.

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Custom Silicone Seals From Thomas A. Caserta

At Thomas A. Caserta, Inc., we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality rubber parts and components in the industry. For more than 70 years, we have been a reliable manufacturer of stock and custom tubing and sealing components for medical, dental and food industries, among others.

Our state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable experts are capable of creating FDA, medical- and surgical-grade tubing, among other quality products from a variety of rubber materials, including silicone rubber. To learn more about our superior silicone rubber products and services, contact us today or request a quote.

Nitrile vs. Neoprene: Which Material Is Best?

Nitrile and neoprene are rubbers that exhibit similar properties, but with differing characteristics that make them useful for different applications. Both materials are elastic, and will return to their original shape when stretched. Nitrile is particularly resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and temperatures, while neoprene is valued for its weather resistance and durability.

Below we provide a more in-depth look at the properties and advantages of nitrile and neoprene and their industrial uses.

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Neoprene Products     Nitrile  Products

Properties & Advantages

Although nitrile and neoprene display similar properties, they are different substances, each with its own unique chemical makeup.
Nitrile is composed of acrylonitrile and butadiene polymers, which are chemically treated to enhance branching. The molecular composition of the polymers is not highly organized, so different fillers can be added to enhance or improve properties such as tensile strength and heat resistance.

Neoprene, or polychloroprene, is a synthetic rubber made up of polymers of chloroprene molecules through a process of free radical polymerization and various chemical reactions. The polymers are chemically treated to enhance polymer branching, for a more flexible material.

Nitrile Properties

Nitrile displays numerous properties that make it ideal for industrial applications, including:

  • Extremely high chemical resistance. Nitrile is highly resistant to oils and solvents, such as engine oil, gas, alkalis, acids, and petroleum-based hydraulic fluids. This makes it useful for components frequently exposed to harsh chemicals and fuel.
  • Exceptional abrasion resistance. Nitrile is resistant to abrasive forces and does not tear easily. This makes it ideal for components that encounter a great deal of friction, such as washers and diaphragms.
  • High water resistance. Nitrile is highly resistant to water-based corrosion and will not break down or become waterlogged when exposed to water. It is particularly valued for use in waterproof gloves.

Neoprene Properties

Neoprene also has a variety of physical properties that make it useful in industrial applications, including:

  • Exceptional weather resistance. Neoprene displays resistance to weather, ozone, UV radiation, freons, and mild acids. This makes it ideal for use in outdoor applications.
  • Excellent impact resistance. Neoprene is highly durable and impact resistant, which makes it valuable for gaskets and seals in high impact industrial machinery.
  • Elastomeric. Neoprene is highly flexible and returns easily to its original shape. Its resilient nature makes it useful for industrial components that require both strength and flexibility.

Material Advantages

As evidenced above, both nitrile and neoprene offer distinct advantages for use in industrial applications. Nitrile is valuable for its superior chemical, abrasion, and water resistance. Neoprene, on the other hand, is prized for its particular resistance to weather and impact. Due to their particular properties, each material is used for a different range of products.

Standard Rubber Products

While both nitrile and neoprene display similar elastomeric properties, their differing chemical and physical characteristics make them useful for distinctly different applications and industries.

Nitrile rubber products are highly valued in the aerospace, defense, infrastructure, medical, and mobile equipment industries. Common nitrile product applications include:

  • Fuel systems. Nitrile is used in fuel tanks, gas hoses, oil seals, and other fuel system components.
  • Mobile equipment. Nitrile is often used in mobile equipment components, such as carburetors and hydraulic hoses.
  • Military vehicles. Military vehicles rely upon nitrile seals and gaskets in their fuel systems and hydraulic hoses.
  • Medical gloves. Nitrile is a popular option for highly durable and disposable medical gloves.

Neoprene is commonly used for rubber washers, gaskets, bushings, and tubing. Neoprene is popular for sealing and insulation applications such as:
nitrile vs neoprene

  • Shock absorbers. Neoprene is often used in seals for shock absorbers.
  • Power transformers. Neoprene noise isolators are used to reduce sound vibrations from power transformers.
  • Structural support. Neoprene is highly valuable for use in expansion joints and bearing pads for load-bearing structures.
  • Windows and doors. Neoprene seals are useful for sealing windows and doors.
  • Electrical. Neoprene is non-conductive and is therefore widely used to seal electronic enclosures and VAC units.
  • Hose covers. Neoprene’s weather resistance makes it a common material for hose covers.

Ask the Experts at Caserta, Inc.

Depending on your application’s specific needs and requirements, both nitrile and neoprene offer a variety of benefits. For more information on the best material for your needs, consult with the rubber product specialists at Caserta, Inc.

Nitrile Vs Neoprene