To the layperson, all items made from silicone rubber might look the same. There are going to be differences in shape, style, and size, but other than that, you’d think they were all made from identical silicone rubber.
That isn’t the case, though.
Silicone rubber is available in different grades. Some are intended for specific purposes where a standard grade would be unsuitable. If you need to buy silicone rubber parts of any type, it is vital to make sure you know whether a specific grade is required.
Standard grades of silicone rubber
A standard grade of silicone rubber would be suitable for situations where the rubber is not going to encounter anything that could potentially cause damage.
The good news is that standard silicone can withstand an impressive temperature range. It is also safe to use in a wide range of applications and circumstances. The properties of standard silicone rubber are impressive and maybe all you need.
However, if you are looking for something specific, a speciality grade may be what you need.
Speciality grades of silicone rubber
These forms of silicone rubber are formulated to provide a stronger performance under the required circumstances. For example, if the item is to be used in a medical setting, it must be of medical grade. This means it is antimicrobial and biocompatible. It cannot cause harm to anyone when in use. It is also easy to clean as the surface is smooth. There are no imperfections where bacteria could remain after cleaning.
There are other special forms of silicone rubber available too though, designed for other purposes. Imagine a scenario where you run a food factory with various processing lines in action all day. Those lines require several parts made from silicone rubber to ensure they run smoothly and for longer than they would with standard rubber parts.
In this case, it would be vital to make sure the eventual demise of a silicone seal or similar part did not compromise the quality or safety of the food. By using a grade of silicone that would trigger metal detectors to go off, you would know when one of the parts had failed. The line would be stopped, and the problem resolved, with any affected food items removed.
Other examples of higher-grade options include those that are flame retardant or able to withstand a greater extreme of temperature, either higher or lower than usual.
Making sure you choose the right grade
Consider how your silicone rubber components are going to be used. What are they going to be in contact with during use? Are there going to be extremes of temperature, additional stresses placed on the parts, or other safety issues to consider?
The best route to finding the appropriate grade for the job is to seek advice from experts in creating various items made from silicone rubber. With many options to choose from, selecting the best part first time can save you lots of hassle and money.