If you need rubber parts – from gaskets to sheeting and washers to tubing – you have lots to choose from. However, not all rubber parts are the same. While there are many differences between them – not all visible with the naked eye – you have two basic items to choose from:
• Regular rubber
• Silicone rubber
You’ll know this from the title of this article. You’ll also know that we manufacture many different silicone rubber parts, so we have an interest in this topic. Yet it is important to see the differences between the two types of rubber. It is in those differences that we can more easily see why the silicone rubber fares better in many situations.
Better in all weather conditions
Regular rubber is not that good at resisting everything the weather can throw at it. In contrast, silicone rubber has far better weather resistant properties. So, if you intend to use the parts for an outdoor item, you’d be better off using silicone rubber parts. Think of feet for outdoor furniture, for example.
Better in extreme heat
What do we mean by extreme? Natural rubber can withstand temperatures of up to around 80 degrees Celsius. That may sound impressive, but when you compare it to its silicone counterpart, you may be surprised. In this case, you can increase the top temperature to as much as 230 degrees Celsius. Quite a difference.
Better at resisting certain chemicals
The list of chemicals is long, and while regular rubber parts can withstand contact with some of them, the list for silicone rubber is longer. If you intend to use parts that will be exposed to certain chemicals, it is wise to have a list for comparison. You can then ask the manufacturer whether silicone parts would be able to resist the chemicals they are going to come into contact with. Rest assured that silicone rubber has far more resistive powers than standard rubber, though.
Better at performing under UV light
This can mean sunlight, of course, which is covered in the weather conditions section above. However, there could be other situations in which rubber parts may be exposed to UV light. In all cases, the silicone rubber parts will perform better as they are unaffected by this light. Rubber is affected, and eventually it will fail as the light degrades its performance.
Better all round?
Perhaps not all round, but certainly close to it. Silicone rubber is more versatile too, because you can request it to be made to withstand the conditions it will be placed under. This versatility means you can rely on its increased performance. You cannot say the same of rubber – a material that begins to degrade, albeit very gradually, from the moment it is made. That means when you buy standard rubber parts, they may already have experienced some degradation. Such is the nature of rubber.
When you invest in silicone rubber parts, you are investing in a far better solution all round.