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SILICONE VS TPE

 Alternatives to rubber Silicone and TPE elastomers have arisen to provide a different option. This article will aid you in discovering the different properties of each. We will address the material properties of both TPE and Silicone so you can choose for yourself what the right one for you may be.  

Silicone

Silicones are materials that are thermoset and have a chemical structure based on chains of oxygen and silicon atoms attached to organic groups are silicone atoms. Silicones come in several forms such as Heat cured rubber (HRC). Room temperature vulcanized rubber(RTV) and Liquid silicone rubber(LSR). Liquid silicone  given its ease in processing is the choice of most domestic molders

Once cured silicone takes on a shape that cannot be changed or broken down, which is called thermoset designation.  This quality of silicone including the cost of it makes it imperative to get it right the first time. The waste from silicone is generally found in landfills due the lack of uses once its been cured. 

Silicone is out of the two the most hypoallergenic and of more concern when it comes to body contact and individuals with allergy issues. Which is the reason in hospitals there has been a trend toward using silicone rubber gloves over natural rubber gloves. Due to the heightened awareness of allergic responses of some people to rubber. 

Silicone can withstand temperatures of up to 350- 400 degrees and as low as -100 degrees with very little change in the physical appearance.  It has a very good quality of resisting oils, solvents and UV exposure. Similar to TPE silicone when stretched will return to its original shape without any to very little deviation in its original form. Silicone as well has an excellent quality in absorbing shock or vibrations. Silicone due to its surface tack tend to attract dirt and lent more over than TPE. Due to the need for the equipment for silicone molding the cost of production is significantly higher

 

TPE

TPE or the technical term of thermoplastic elastomers also known as thermo plastic rubber.  TPE is a mix of rubbers and plastics called co polymers.  The mix of these to coploymers gives TPE its quality and ability to mix in the desired forms or appearance that the molding process seeks as an outcome Characteristics of TPE are

: Ability at elevated temperatures to be melted

: Ability to be stretched to different shapes and lengths and retain its original form after the stress of pulling or tugging.

:No significant creep in the TPE

TPE  can be processed multiple times under heat and the will soften under heat and return and re harden once cooled. They start out soft and rubbery and come in pellet form and once fed into hoppers and into injection molding apparatus the injection molding process begins. TPE is as well resistant to some chemical components but not as much as Silicone and they do offer some inherent UV protection.  

Differences in the two TPE can be recycled and remolded multiple times whereas Silicone once set cannot be reheated or reprocessed once set. They are both flexible forms of elastomers, but due to its copolymer basis TPE can be used in a wider set of applications. TPE are as well better at avoiding abrasions due to its qualities over Silicone. TPE is generally cheaper to manufacture and produce.  It has the ability to add colorant to TPE to make for a specific color outcome of the product being made. But overall the difference of TPE and silicone are hard to tell the difference between the two.  In deciding which is better it generally comes down to cost as the both have some of the same qualities except for a few.  But it ends up being the cost that is the biggest difference in deciding

 

 



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