Are There Different Types of Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber is an incredibly useful material that is used across a wide variety of industries for its beneficial properties. At TRP Polymer Solutions, we produce custom silicone ‘O’-rings from a range of different types of silicone. So, are there different types of silicone rubber? The answer is yes, and each type is used for its unique qualities. In this blog, we go into depth about the different types of silicone rubber, their components and how they differ from each other.

What is silicone?

Silicone is a synthetic polymer containing silicon, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon molecules. Through the combination of these components, they create a versatile material that is useful in a wide range of applications and industries. It is often used due to its durability, flexibility, non-toxicity and resistance to many conditions and environments.

In particular, it is used for creating ‘O’-rings as it possesses the ideal properties for their use. At TRP Polymer Solutions, we use a variety of silicone rubbers to produce our ‘O’-rings. Silicone is ideal for manufacturing ‘O’-rings as it possesses a temperature range from -60°C to 230°C. After modifying silicone further, certain grades are capable of -100°C and as high as +300°C, making for the ideal material for many applications.

So, what are the different types of silicone rubber, and what are the unique properties of each? We discuss silicone rubbers in further depth below.

Are there different types of silicone rubber?

There are three different types of silicone rubber commonly used in the production of ‘O’-rings. Each is used for a variety of purposes in industrial applications, depending upon the specific qualities that are required for a particular system. The different types of silicone rubber are:

  • VMQ
  • PVMQ
  • FVMQ§

VMQ

VMQ is the abbreviation for vinyl methyl silicone. This is created by replacing the methyl groups of molecules with vinyl groups. This gives the rubber better compression properties and a wider temperature range, making it the standard material used for ‘O’-rings. It is not suitable for some applications, however, due to its low tensile strength and poor abrasion resistance in comparison to some other varieties of silicone. Special grades can be created that improve the strength properties of these materials but they are often below that of organic polymers.

PVMQ

PVMQ, known as phenyl methyl silicone, is created by replacing some of the methyl groups with phenyl groups. This improves the low temperature resistance of the material, being able to operate from -100°C to 200°C. This makes it especially useful as it possesses a lower service temperature than any other elastomer.

FVMQ

Fluorosilicone, abbreviated to FMVQ, has similar benefits to FFKM in that their combination with fluorine gives the original polymer much stronger bonds. These stronger bonds mean that fewer chemical reactions can occur, which gives FMVQ a much higher chemical resistance. It shares relatively similar qualities to VMQ in addition to having better fuel and oil resistance. However, without the correct formulation, it can be less resistant to high thermal conditions..

Performance of various silicones

Each type of silicone rubber has different characteristics which make it suitable for different applications. Below, you can see the different qualities of each of the types of silicone that we use to produce our ‘O’-rings and get further insight into which is best for your requirements.

Silicone rubber seals at TRP Polymer

At TRP Polymer Solutions, we use the above-mentioned types of silicone due to their highly resistant qualities and durability. If you’re looking for quality ​​’O’-rings that deliver on performance, you can order custom silicone ‘O’-rings from us.

We are capable of producing a range of silicone rubber ‘O’-rings that are produced to the exact specifications that you require. This includes our high-temperature ‘O’-rings, FFKM ‘O’-rings and seals and high-performance elastomer ‘O’-rings. To give you further insight into the types of silicone and other polymers we have available and which is best for your application, our material datasheets and chemical resistance guide provide detailed information on each to help you decide.

With custom colours, metal detectability and certifications including FDA, USP Class VI & Norsok M710, TRP Polymer Solutions can provide you with ‘O’-rings specifically designed for your application, so be sure to get in touch with an enquiry.

For more information on our products and how TRP can assist your business, please contact us. Our technical team is ready to provide expert advice and solutions tailored to your needs.

 

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