Published by Rogers Corporation
Elastomeric Material Solutions

Silicone is everywhere.

If you are traveling by aircraft, taking a train to work, or driving your new electric vehicle, chances are silicone is part of the experience. It helps us power, protect, and connect our world.

When you think of silicones, your first thought may be gaskets and seals, but silicones are also used in addressing all sorts of gap-filling, shock, and vibration challenges across thousands of mission-critical applications and industries.

Want a quick visual summary?

Why is Silicone Such a Popular Material Choice?

It comes down to its ability to handle challenging applications with a high degree of reliability.

Silicone is also different from other commonly specified materials, as it has many unique advantages over polyurethanes, neoprene, EPDM (Ethylene, Propylene, Diene Monomer), and other lower-priced alternative materials.

So, Where Do Silicone's Unique Advantages Come From?

The advantages are due to the unique chemical structure of the silicone polymer.

The silicone backbone is made of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms, making it an inorganic polymer, as opposed to polyurethane, neoprene, and EPDM which are all carbon-based, organic polymers.

This key difference is the basis for the unique material properties of silicone.

Let's dive deeper into silicone's unique properties and why it is regarded as one of the most reliable materials.

What are the Top 7 Reasons to Use Silicone Cellular Foam, Solid, or Sponge?

  1. Temperature Resistance

    Silicone is known for its broad temperature resistance in environments ranging from extremely cold to extremely hot. Silicone preserves its flexibility, especially in applications with low temperatures, instead of becoming hard and brittle like many other materials. In high-temperature situations, heat will not degrade silicone's high-performance properties.

    Exact temperatures may vary by product, but a typical silicone temperature range is -55°C to +200°C (-67°F to +392°F). Given this, silicone is often the go-to material for aerospace, automotive, industrial, and life science applications where various components are exposed to challenging temperature demands.

  2. Environmental Protection

    Silicone's resistance to environmental factors such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, ozone, and moisture makes it an ideal material for outdoor applications. Unlike many other common materials, silicone's ability to resist harsh elements demonstrates its durability, reliability, and long-term performance. This is critical in applications such as outdoor electrical enclosures, outdoor lighting fixtures, and construction applications where exposure to sun, rain, snow, and humidity are expected.

  3. Chemical and Cleaning Agent Resistance

    Silicone is resistant to many chemicals and cleaning agents, making it a go-to material for applications where exposure may occur. This includes applications in food and beverage, medical and life science, semiconductor, and manufacturing. Silicone's chemical resistance and inertness are important in these types of applications to facilitate the reliability and long-term performance of devices and components.

  4. Excellent Sealing Performance

    Silicones are specified for sealing applications in virtually every industry because they can withstand compression cycles without significant loss of sealing effectiveness, especially in challenging environments.

    This is partially due to one of silicone's most well-known properties, compression set resistance (aka: c-set). Compression set is a measure of how much a material will rebound after being compressed by a certain compression, time, and temperature. Most materials will not regain 100% of their original thickness, but materials losing only a small percentage of their initial thickness are said to have good c-set resistance. Compression set resistance is critical to maintaining an effective and durable seal over extended periods of time. BISCO® Silicone materials from Rogers Corporation are formulated to have extremely low compression set values.

  5. Fire Resistance

    Some BISCO silicones are specially formulated and tested to the most stringent flame ratings, such as UL94. It is important to note this because silicones will meet different flame ratings (if formulated correctly) depending on the specific formulation and thickness. Flame ratings are particularly important in areas where fire safety is critical, such as electronics, electrical equipment, automotive, aerospace, railway, defense, and medical.

  6. Low Flame, Smoke, Toxicity (FST) and Outgassing

    BISCO silicones exhibit low flame, smoke density and toxic gases when burned. These properties are critical in applications where there is a fire risk, human exposure, or a need to prevent contamination of sensitive components. Overall, silicones help ensure safety and reliability by meeting various industry regulations and requirements for FST (Flame, Smoke, and Toxicity). Please check out the Technical Data Sheet of the product you are interested in for specific details.

  7. Versatility

    Silicones come in many different forms, including cellular foam, sponge, and solids to meet a variety of applications. Each silicone form has key properties that make it suitable for certain applications.

    Silicones also come in various hardness, firmness, thickness, and color options to meet versatile application needs. Additionally, silicone chemistry can be specially formulated to meet unique challenges, including heat management, sound blocking, electrical conductivity, and more.

Top 7 Silicone Advantages Summary Table

1 Temperature Resistance Temperature range: -55 °Cto to +200 °C
(-67 °F to +392 °F)
2 Environmental Protection Resistant to: UV, ozone
3 Chemical Resistance Resistant to: Alcohols
Household cleaners
Automotive fluids
Many aAcids and bBases
4 Excellent Sealing Performance C-set resistance ranging from: 1% - 25%
5 Fire Resistance Silicone can meet: UL94 V-0, HF1
FAR 25.853
FAR 25.856
6 Low Flame, Smoke, Toxicity (FST) and Outgassing Silicone can meet: ASTM E162
SMP 800 C
7 Versatility Forms of silicone include: Foam, Sponge, Solid

Next Steps

Considering silicone as a possibility for your application? Rely on Rogers as a partner who can assist with your application requirements - contact a Rogers Sales Engineer today. #RelyOnRogers

Top 7 Advantages of Silicone Infographic

Related Blogs


Published on Feb 16, 2024

Submit Comment

Return to Blog


Elastomeric Material Solutions

Find local representatives for personalized support.