What is Silicone Rubber and its Main Types

What is Silicone Rubber and its Main Types


Silicone rubber is a remarkable synthetic elastomer renowned for its versatility and unique combination of properties that make it indispensable in various industries and applications. Composed of silicon, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sometimes other elements, silicone rubber exhibits exceptional temperature resistance, flexibility, and chemical stability. In this article, we will explore what silicone rubber is and delve into its main types, each tailored to specific performance requirements across an array of sectors.

What is Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber, often referred to simply as “silicone,” is a type of synthetic rubber or elastomer with a chemical structure that incorporates silicon atoms bonded to oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms. This unique structure imparts a host of advantageous properties to silicone rubber, making it highly sought after in industries ranging from automotive and aerospace to healthcare and consumer goods.

Key Properties of Silicone Rubber:

1. Temperature Resistance: One of silicone rubber’s standout features is its ability to withstand extreme temperatures without significant deformation or degradation. It remains flexible and stable in temperatures ranging from as low as -60°C (-76°F) to as high as 230°C (446°F) or even higher in specialized formulations.

2. Flexibility and Elasticity: Silicone rubber boasts exceptional elasticity and flexibility, allowing it to stretch, bend, and recover its original shape without permanent deformation.

3. Chemical Resistance: Silicone rubber is highly resistant to many chemicals, oils, solvents, and UV radiation. This attribute is vital for applications exposed to harsh environments.

4. Electrical Insulation: It possesses excellent electrical insulating properties, making it ideal for minimizing electrical conductivity in applications such as cable insulation and electronic components.

5. Water and Weather Resistance: Silicone rubber’s resistance to water and weather makes it suitable for outdoor and moisture-prone environments.

6. Biocompatibility: Silicone rubber is non-toxic and biocompatible, making it suitable for medical devices and implants.

7. Food-Grade Applications: It is commonly used in food processing equipment due to its resistance to food ingredients and high-temperature resistance during cooking.

8. Sealing and Gaskets: Silicone rubber is a popular choice for creating effective seals, gaskets, and O-rings across various industries.

Main Types of Silicone Rubber:

1. High-Temperature Vulcanized (HTV) Silicone Rubber: HTV silicone rubber is a solid, heat-cured silicone that excels in high-temperature applications. It can withstand temperatures up to 230°C (446°F) and is commonly used in automotive gaskets and oven seals.

2. Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR): LSR is a liquid form of silicone rubber known for its excellent moldability. It is utilized in medical devices, baby products, and intricate automotive parts.

3. Room-Temperature Vulcanized (RTV) Silicone Rubber: RTV silicone rubber cures at room temperature with a catalyst. It is favored for mold making and prototyping due to its ease of use.

4. High-Consistency Silicone Rubber (HCR): HCR silicone rubber is a semi-solid compound suitable for compression molding and extrusion processes. It finds application in gaskets, seals, and automotive components.

5. Fluorosilicone Rubber (FVMQ): This variant incorporates fluorine atoms into the silicone structure, providing enhanced resistance to fuels, oils, and petroleum-based chemicals. It is prevalent in aerospace and automotive sectors.

6. Electrically Conductive Silicone Rubber: Formulated with conductive fillers like carbon or metal particles, this type offers electrical conductivity and EMI/RFI shielding properties. It is used in electronic components.

7. Food-Grade Silicone Rubber: Compliant with food-contact regulations, this silicone type is used in kitchenware, baking mats, and food storage containers.

8. Medical-Grade Silicone Rubber: Biocompatible and safe for medical devices and implants, this type meets stringent regulatory requirements.


Silicone rubber, with its exceptional properties and diverse range of formulations, plays a pivotal role in numerous industries and everyday products. From sealing solutions in automotive applications to medical implants and food-grade kitchenware, silicone rubber’s versatility continues to drive innovation and improve the quality of life across the globe. Understanding its main types empowers engineers and manufacturers to select the right silicone rubber for their specific needs, ensuring optimal performance and durability.

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