Silicone, Rubber and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) are three different types of materials that are widely used with different properties and fields of application.
Main ingredients: Silica gel is a polymer composed of silicon (silicon element) and oxygen. It is usually mixed with other elements such as carbon, hydrogen, etc. to form various silicon-oxygen chains.
Features: Silicone has excellent high temperature resistance, chemical corrosion resistance, electrical insulation and biocompatibility. It is a soft, resilient material that maintains its properties over a wide temperature range. Silicone can also be liquid or solid, depending on its use.
Application: Silicone is widely used in food processing, medical equipment, baby products, cosmetics, electronic equipment and other fields, as well as many occasions that require high temperature, electrical insulation or chemical corrosion resistance.
Main ingredients: Rubber is usually natural rubber or synthetic rubber, where natural rubber is extracted from the latex of the rubber tree, and synthetic rubber is prepared by chemical synthesis.
Features: Rubber has high elasticity and stretchability, and can return to its original shape after being stretched. Its properties are highly temperature dependent and may become brittle or lose its elasticity at extreme temperatures. Rubber is usually soft at room temperature.
Application: Rubber is widely used in various fields such as tires, seals, rubber mats, pipes, springs, rubber shoes, etc., because of its elasticity to adapt to various stresses and shapes.
TPE (thermoplastic elastomer):
Main ingredients: TPE is a class of thermoplastic elastomer materials consisting of a mixture of thermoplastic polymers and elastomers (usually rubber).
Features: TPE has the elasticity and softness similar to rubber, and also has the processing characteristics of thermoplastics, that is, it can be softened, processed, and shaped within a certain temperature range, and then maintains its elasticity after cooling.
Application: TPE is widely used in the field of plastic products, such as handles, pipes, seals, toys, medical equipment, household items, etc. Due to its plasticity and elasticity, TPE is used in many applications that require combining the properties of plastic and rubber.
In short, these three materials are different in performance, composition and application. According to specific needs and application scenarios, it is very important to choose a suitable material.
The difference between safety and cost?
Silicone, rubber, and TPE also have some differences in terms of safety and cost, which I will explain separately:
Silicone: Silicone is generally considered a relatively safe material. It has excellent biocompatibility, does not cause allergic reactions, and does not release harmful substances. Silicone is widely used in fields such as medical treatment, food contact and baby products because it does not have adverse reactions with food, drugs or the human body.
Rubber: Natural rubber and synthetic rubber may contain, to varying degrees, some chemicals such as rubber processing aids. Some people may have an allergic reaction to certain ingredients in the rubber. Additionally, under certain conditions, rubber may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may have an impact on indoor air quality.
TPE: TPE is generally considered to be one of the safer plastic materials. However, its safety may depend on the specific combination of ingredients. When choosing a TPE, you need to ensure that it meets applicable food contact or medical grade standards to ensure safety.
Silicone: Silicone is relatively expensive. Its manufacturing process is relatively complicated, and the cost of raw materials is relatively high, which makes the price of silicone products usually higher in the market.
Rubber: Natural rubber and synthetic rubber differ in cost. The price of natural rubber is affected by factors such as rubber production and climatic conditions. Synthetic rubber is generally more economical because its manufacturing process is more controlled and unaffected by natural elements.
TPE: TPE is generally more economical than silicone and some rubbers. Its manufacturing process is relatively simple, and the cost of raw materials is low, so the price of TPE products in the market is generally more reasonable.
Comprehensive consideration, the selection of suitable materials needs to comprehensively consider its safety and cost, as well as the required performance and application scenarios.
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