Manufacturers today have a wider range of materials to choose from than ever before. At the same time, however, increasingly sophisticated products require that great care be taken to select a material that will offer reliable performance while meeting budget requirements.
Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is frequently used in injection molding by demanding manufacturers. While not the right choice for every application, it offers a number of advantages that make it an option worth considering in many situations. Here are seven things you need to know about LSR:
- It’s versatile. LSR is the material of choice for many applications, including certain automotive equipment and medical devices, electronic components, bakeware and other household goods, and more. LSR can be used in single- and two-shot injection molding, or overmolded onto other components. It can create anything from simple parts, such as a gasket or O-ring, to instruments and system components with more complex geometries.
- It’s flexible. LSR is extremely dynamic and can be formed into practically any shape. It offers a low creep and compression set, and absorbs vibrations easily without compromising performance. These characteristics make LSR a great choice for automotive components and other products that require long-term durability.
- It thrives in extreme temperatures. LSR has exceptional thermal stability, is flame-retardant and won’t elongate at high temperatures. It can also be used in extreme cold and retains its flexibility in temperatures as low as -40˚C. For these reasons, it’s a popular choice for both consumer products, such as muffin tins and ice cube trays, as well as heavy-duty industrial applications.
- It’s great for outdoor use. Thermal stability is just one of the reasons why LSR is great for long-term outdoor use. LSR parts will retain their mechanical strength and other characteristics even with extended exposure to wind and rain. LSR is also resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew and UV rays.
- It’s moisture-resistant. LSR can be immersed in warm or boiling water without any negative consequences. It’s also resistant to oils and chemical solvents, and won’t decompose, dissolve or otherwise degrade over time. These characteristics make LSR a good choice for plumbing hardware, such as gaskets and valves, as well as medical devices and other products that need to be routinely steamed in an autoclave or chemically sterilized.
- It’s hypoallergenic. Unlike other materials, LSR doesn’t contain any plasticizers or allergens that can irritate sensitive skin. This makes it ideal for baby products and toys. Food-grade LSR is also available, and LSR parts play a key role in helping manufacturers comply with HACCP best practices, as well as FDA regulation 21 CFR 177.2600.
- It’s electrically conductive. Another advantage of liquid silicone rubber is that it’s resistant to corona discharge and has excellent insulating properties. However, LSR can also contain conductive materials that make it suitable for use in keyboard contact points and other electrical components.
The above are just a few of the many reasons why you should use liquid silicone rubber for injection molding. For more information, or for assistance determining whether or not LSR is the best choice for your project, contact SIMTEC Silicone Parts and speak with one of our representatives today.