When designing a new product, manufacturing engineers must consider the materials used. They must look for strength, chemical resistance, thermal stability, and other features. They must also consider whether the material will be easy to work with, allow automation and provide a good finished surface. Liquid silicone rubber, also known as LSR, has many of these properties and can be used in a variety of applications.
LSR is a two-part, platinum-cured elastomer that can be injection molded into a mold cavity to create a part. This process allows for complex parts with precise dimensions and high production capacity. The material offers a wide processing window, low injection pressures and fast cure times at elevated temperatures. Injection molding of LSR also eliminates the need for secondary operations like trimming and provides a trim-free result, saving time and money in the supply chain.
Liquid silicone rubber is a non-toxic material. It is biocompatible and has excellent chemical resistance, making it a popular choice for items that come into contact with human skin and body fluids. It is also resistant to corrosion and other environmental stressors like UV rays, water, and oxidation. This type of material can also be formulated to meet FDA standards, including medical-healthcare grade and medical long term implantable (MLTI) silicones.
In addition to its physical and chemical properties, liquid silicone rubber is highly stable across a large range of temperatures. It maintains its mechanical properties at low temperatures, which is a crucial feature for automotive and other heavy-duty products. The material is also electrically conductive when carbon or other conductive filler is added, making it ideal for a variety of electronic devices.
Unlike other elastomers, liquid silicone rubber can be fabricated into a variety of shapes and sizes. Its low elongation and high tear and tensile strengths make it an excellent material for sealing and gaskets. Additionally, the material has a high degree of flexural fatigue resistance, which means that it can endure repeated bending and movement without breaking.
Another benefit of silicone is its ability to be over-molded with other materials, such as engineering plastics or metals. This allows manufacturers to produce a final product with the strength of a metal or plastic while incorporating the aesthetics and performance of silicon. H.M. Royal carries a number of different ELASTOSIL liquid silicone grades from Wacker that can be over-molded to other materials.
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