Silicone’s amazing versatility means it is used in a huge variety of commercial applications, including some that may come as a bit of a surprise.
Increasing use of silicone in cars
Did you know, for instance, that every car has silicone components? Gaskets and seals, both exterior and interior, are frequently made of silicone; in addition, it is used as part of airbags, cables, shock absorbers and many other components. Silicone hose manufacturers now supply many of the hoses and connectors used in car engines, as silicone is strong, durable and can cope with very high temperatures – all factors that are key to performance.
This is important, as the increased power and performance of today’s cars generates a lot more heat than in the past. This is where silicone, which can resist heat in the range -60°C to +230°C, comes into its own.
In addition to the engineering components of the car, silicone is used in auto interiors to suppress vibration and cushion passengers, delivering a much more comfortable drive.
Planes and trains
One of the great things about silicone is the fact that it is malleable and can therefore take on virtually any shape. This makes it an ideal choice for sealing around other forms, such as windows, wings, doors, control panels, electrical wires and vents. Companies such as Goodflex Rubber silicone hose manufacturers have used these properties to their advantage, enabling them to make hoses that can fit around, or into, other engineering structures.
The temperature range at which silicone keeps its properties is a massive bonus for aircraft, which operate in hugely varying temperature zones – often on the same flight. For spacecraft, silicone offers the same advantages in even more testing environments.
Silicone is amazingly weather resistant and is increasingly used in parts for train exteriors, which are subject day in, day out, to wind, rain, snow, and wear caused by UV. For the same reason, boats and ships use it; in addition, it resists salt water.
Silicone in medicine
You will find silicone tubing in heart pacemakers and in drug delivery technology, as it helps control the risk of infection. Next time you are having a blood test, remember that silicone is an ingredient in the lubricants that help the needle to slide easily into your skin.