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Silicon elastomers have a distinctive range of properties that distinguish them from other kinds of rubber. Silicone rubber is processed either as ready for use (LSR and HTV) or as solid silicone rubber to which curing agents or additives such as color may be added. The main processing techniques are extrusion, molding (injection molding, transfer), compression molding and calendering.
The most important properties of silicone elastomers compared to other kinds of rubber are:
- Excellent resistance to high temperatures with simultaneous low-temperature flexibility
- Extremely low compression set
- High resistance to chemicals and environmental influences
- Water-repellent surface
- Very good mechanical properties over a very wide temperature range with sufficient oil resistance
- Neutral in taste and odor
- Exceptionally high purity
Depending on the grade of silicone, molded parts such as seals and valves are molded using different techniques: compression or injection molding is used for solid silicone rubber while injection molding is used for liquid silicone rubber. The choice of technique and material depends on the quantity, geometric complexity of the component, dimensional accuracy and consistent product quality.
Two-component injection molding enables composite parts to be realized, such as combining silicone rubber with thermoplastic or metal parts, and combining varying grades of hardness or color combinations.
Coated textiles guarantee a high degree of functionality in architecture, foodstuffs, lifestyle, functional and protective clothing. For example, coating is performed by calendering: typically, solid silicone rubber is rolled out to the desired thickness (approx. 1-2 mm), applied with pressure to the textile and then thermally cured.