9 min read

Silicone Gaskets: A Comprehensive Overview

By Scott Chambers on Feb 24, 2022 3:45:28 PM

Silicone Gaskets

The gasket industry is a large and thriving industry. In the United States, the gasket industry generates annual revenue of about $8 billion

In recent years, the gasket industry has been shifting how it approaches the manufacture of gaskets. The gasket industry often used asbestos to manufacture gaskets in the past. Because of its abundance and unique texture, gasket material would often contain up to 80% white asbestos

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After learning the dangers of using asbestos, the industry has shifted its processes. New and advanced technology has been on the rise resulting in higher profit margins and longer lifespans. Unsurprisingly, companies have turned to silicone gaskets to fulfill their gasket needs.

Silicone gaskets offer a wide range of benefits that make them a top choice for gasket manufacturing. Do you want to learn more about the uses and benefits of silicone gaskets? If so, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about silicone gaskets.

Types of Gaskets

Gaskets is a seal or grommet that holds two things together. They’re in practically everything you use. You can use gaskets made from rubber, plastic, metal, or other materials.

They reduce leaks by ensuring reliable sealing. They are used in many industrial applications, including food processing, petrochemical, plumbing, machinery, and gas. Find out more about gaskets here

The type of material of your gasket depends on what you need to use it for. For example, if you’re dealing with a rigid object, you need a gasket that fits the set shape. Doors and moving structures need something more flexible.

It would help if you considered your needs, including temperature, pressure, corrosion resistance, availability, and cost.

Gaskets need to be solid, so they don’t allow materials to pass through. Some also need to deal with energy discharge. You can have many different types of gaskets, including:

  • Pipe gaskets
  • Gasketing tape or adhesive
  • Gasketing foam

You can also have many different materials for these gaskets, including silicone, neoprene, EPDM, Teflon, Gore-Tex, and Graphite. This guide will only discuss silicone gaskets, but you can learn more about the other types of materials here. 

What is a Silicone Gasket?

As recently as the 1980s, companies manufactured asbestos gaskets. The Environmental Protection Agency found that asbestos gaskets pose an unreasonable risk to the health of consumers and bystanders. Many advocates are pushing for a ban on asbestos gaskets.

If you’re looking for other materials for your purposes, you should consider silicone gaskets. Dr. William H. Dow Corning Company invented silicone gaskets in 1953. They are high-performance mechanical seals with high resilience and durability.

Silicone gaskets can withstand high and low temperatures making them a versatile material. You can use it for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Food processing
  • Medical equipment
  • Industrial processes
  • Automobile engines
  • Aerospace
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Mobile technologies
  • Energy

You can use silicone gaskets when you need a material with high-temperature resistance, a low compression set, and good electrical insulation.

Trying a new product can end up increasing your cost and risk. You can request a sample of a silicone gasket from Strouse today to try them without a huge upfront expense. 

What Are the Benefits of Silicone Gaskets?

There are thousands of materials to make gaskets with, but silicone gaskets stand out from the rest because of all the benefits they offer. They are used in both indoor and outdoor applications. 

Ability to Withstand High and Low Temperatures

Silicone gaskets can withstand temperatures of up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit continuously. This makes it great for many industrial applications. It can be exposed to high heat levels without degrading or wearing out. 

Silicone gaskets can also withstand heat up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit on an intermittent basis.

On the other hand, they can also withstand extremely cold temperatures. They can remain flexible at as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

Excellent Insulation

Silicone gaskets are excellent insulators of electricity. By blending silicone with nickel-graphite or silver-plated aluminum particles, silicone gaskets can shield electromagnetic interference (EMI) because of their conductive capabilities. This is especially useful for use in electronic equipment.

Silicones are found in most high voltage insulators and other electrical components. They can be cross-linked by different chemical reactions making them non-reactive at high temperatures. The electrical industry relies significantly on these non-reactive materials.   

Where electromagnetic discharge is a problem, silicone can also be blended with a semi-conductive carbon to provide electromagnetic discharge.

Highly Durable

Silicone gaskets are highly durable. They’re resistant to UV light, ozone, and extreme weather conditions. This makes them ideal for outdoor use. 

Their durability also makes them highly economical. They are a reliable and stable material. You can use silicone gaskets for a long time without them showing wear. They also don’t require a lot of maintenance once they are installed.

FDA Approved

Because silicone gaskets are FDA-approved, they can be used in medical equipment, health care instruments, and food processing plants. They can also be mixed with other FDA-approved materials to get high tear strength.

Unlike asbestos gaskets, silicone gaskets are physiologically inert. This means that it’s not toxic and doesn’t harm people.

These reasons make silicone gaskets useful for healthcare, food processing, medical diagnostic equipment, and pharmaceuticals.

Compression Set Reliance

Compression set reliance means that silicone gaskets work well under pressure. They return to their original thickness even after being compressed for long periods. If you’re concerned about a compression set, then silicone gaskets are your best bet as they have a lower compression set. 

A compression of 100% means that the material will never return to its original thickness. You need to look for lower compression set reliance materials to ensure that the material doesn’t get deformed with use in certain temperatures.

If the gasket material deforms, then the seal will fail. This will lead to leaks and contaminations.

Flame Retardant

Silicone gaskets have low flammability levels, which makes them ideal for industries that generate excessive heat. They can be used in telecommunications equipment and mass transit systems. 

Silicone gaskets meet the testing requirements from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for fire safety and flame resistance. This means that silicon gaskets can achieve UL94V0, UL94V1, and UL94HF1 flammability standards.

Water-Repelling Material

Silicon gaskets have a water-repelling material. They repel waters, resist moisture, and still maintain a watertight seal.

So, it’s great for those industries that deal with moisture or water. It’s also great for outdoor use in areas that have wet weather conditions.

Great Aesthetic Finish

You have several options for an excellent aesthetic finish when choosing silicone gaskets. You can get silicone gaskets in different colors that can be useful for retail or commercial use. You have a variety of custom options when using silicone gaskets.

What Are the Types of Silicone Gaskets?

Silicone gaskets are incredibly versatile. They can come in sheets or rolls in many different thicknesses. Depending on your needs, you can also have solid, sponge, or foam silicones.

Solid Silicone Gaskets

Solid silicone gaskets are tightly-packed. They are not always soft but are more rigid than sponge silicone. If you need a seal rating of IP67 or higher, you should choose solid silicones. 

Solid silicones can offer exceptional sealing capabilities, but you should remember that they are difficult to compress because of their hardness. They will need 15 to 20% compression.

Sponge Silicone Gaskets

Sponge silicone gaskets offer more cushioning and padding. They can be open-cell or closed-cell. Open-cell silicones contain pockets that allow water, air, and chemicals to pass unless the gasket is compressed.

Closed-cell silicones have pockets filled with nitrogen to prevent water, air, or other chemicals from passing through even at low compression. They will need at least 50% compression.

Sponge silicone gaskets have a higher temperature threshold of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Foam Silicone Gaskets

Foam silicone gaskets can be soft, medium, firm, or extra-firm. They offer different levels of compression. Like sponge silicone gaskets, foam silicone gaskets will also need at least 50% compression.

They can be open-cell, closed-cell, or a mixture of both. They have a temperature threshold of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Die Cut Silicone Gaskets

Die-cut silicone gaskets are the typical type of gasket. It’s a more economical option, especially for large volumes.

You can produce thousands of die-cut silicone gaskets per hour. They can come in many different sizes and thicknesses.

Molded Silicone Gaskets

Molded silicone gaskets provide a higher performance seal than die-cut silicone gaskets. 

Conductive Silicone Gaskets

Conductive silicone gaskets are made up of a mix of high-quality silicone and conductive particles. They are generally used for electronic equipment. They are filled with conductive materials like nickel, carbon, silver-plated nickel.

FDA (Food Grade) Silicone Gaskets

FDA-approved silicone gaskets are generally used in the food processing industry. They are odorless, tasteless, and fungus resistant. They also can handle the extreme cold and heat, making them ideal for places with food around, like dough or cake mixers.

Fluorosilicone Gaskets

Fluorosilicone or fluorinated silicone rubber is similar to silicone. Silicone is not ideal for use with oil or petroleum-based chemicals. That’s when fluorosilicone comes into play.

They can withstand extreme temperatures. They also are resistant to fuels, oils, and other petroleum-based chemicals.

How Do Silicone Gaskets Compare to Rubber Gaskets?

While rubber for rubber gaskets comes from a rubber tree, silicone is synthetic. In some instances, silicone gaskets can be more efficient and perform better. For example, silicone gaskets are a better choice when dealing with extremely high temperatures.

Natural rubber can work well in temperatures from -58 degrees to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Silicone can handle more extreme temperatures from -58 degrees to 446 degrees. Natural rubber starts to wear down at 176 degrees and melts by 248 degrees.

Rubber is not used with ozone, strong acids, fats, oils, and grease. Silicone, on the other hand, can be used with these materials. You can use silicone gaskets in extreme weather conditions and UV for outdoor application.

What Are the Uses of Silicone Gaskets?

You now know how versatile silicone gaskets can be. Because of their versatility, they have many uses in many different industries.

Aerospace

Silicone gaskets are resistant to extreme temperatures, UV light, ozone, and chemicals. This makes them the best fit for airplanes, space shuttles, and similar vehicles. They can handle extreme weather and temperatures without wearing down. 

They can be used in engine gaskets to vent ducts. They are also ideal for use in windows, doors, and HVAC seals.

Transportation

Silicone gaskets are stable and durable. They maintain their resilience and strength even in extreme conditions. They can handle unnecessary stress without issues.

That’s why they are great for use in personal, commercial, or industrial vehicles. They can also be used for mass transit systems like buses and trains. They also reduce vibrations and provide high-quality seals for radiators.

Commercial Applications

Silicone gaskets are used as seals for HVAC systems and doors in the construction industry. They are used in food processing machinery and industrial oven seals in the food industry. In the medical industry, they are used for medical and healthcare equipment.

Contact Your Silicone Gaskets Expert Today

Now you know everything there is to know about silicone gaskets. You know all the benefits of silicone gaskets, making them a versatile option for many different industries. If you think silicone gaskets are the right option for you, you probably wonder where to buy them.

You need a company that solves problems, helps answer all your questions, and provides the necessary expertise you require, as Strouse does. Strouse is a reputable company known for producing top-quality silicone gaskets. Contact us today to request a customized quote for your business needs.

Request a Sample Today 

Scott Chambers

Written by Scott Chambers

Business Development Manager for Strouse Scott graduated from Coastal Carolina with a degree in Business Management. He then attended the University of Baltimore School of Law earning his JD in 2016. He passed the bar later that year, and he started working for Strouse in 2017. Scott is in charge of marketing and business development in addition to being Strouse's In House Counsel.

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