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Fascinating Silicone™ The Versatile Silicone Toolbox – Silicone Elastomers/Rubber: Structure and Properties

Silicone elastomers/rubber - structure and properties

Structure

Silicone polymer + filler + crosslinker (vulcanizing agent) = silicone elastomer

Silicone elastomers are crosslinked linear silicone fluids or gums with a three-dimensional structure.

Silicone crosslinkers & 3-dimensional silicone polymer network

Silicone elastomers contain fillers:

  • Reinforcing fillers, like silica, which interact with the base polymer and increase the strength of the elastomer
  • Extending fillers, like quartz, diatoms, or metal oxides, which help reduce the material’s cost

They also contain a crosslinker (vulcanizing agent).

Silicone elastomers differ from linear silicone fluids in three ways

Linear PolymersElastomers
Physical properties determined by chain lengthPhysical properties determined by degree of crosslinking
Linear polymers are liquids; viscosity increases with molecular weightElastomers are solids with indefinite molecular weight
Soluble in solventsSwell in solvents

Properties

  • Excellent high/low temperature performance capability (standard grades of silicone elastomers can handle temperatures ranging from -40 to 200°C/-40 - to 392°F)
  • Very flexible – flexibility virtually unaffected by temperature
  • Excellent ozone resistance
  • Excellent UV resistance
  • Excellent electrical insulating properties
  • High thermal conductivity
  • Excellent resistance to a wide range of fluids and chemicals
  • Excellent weatherability
  • High gas and drug permeability
  • Easy to fabricate/process
 

Did You Know ... the source of silicone’s exceptional high and low temperature performance capabilities is its low viscosity temperature
coefficient!

 
 

Did you know ... there are six different ways silicone materials can be cured!

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