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What Is Silicone Foam?

By M. Kayo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Silicone foam is a low density synthesized foam rubber that has a predominantly closed cell structure with a low water absorbing surface skin. Most consumers would recognize this material in the form of the dark gray foam rubber pipe insulators available in most home improvement stores. This silicone foam is resistant to chemicals, electrical charge, and is suitable for use in both high and low temperatures ranging from -60 degrees F to 500 degrees F (-50 to 260 C). Silicone foam has a high level of overall compressibility and low compression over a broad range of temperatures which means it can maintain it's viability in the hottest or coldest conditions. This type of foam is typically used in thermal insulation as building materials or gaskets.

Silicone foam is produced in many forms including sheets, cord, tube, and custom varieties. Made from liquid silicone that is placed in a form or liner and cured in a high-temperature oven, the silicone is transformed into various forms of low-density and high-density open cell foam. This low density foam is useful in the production of electrical insulation, thermal insulation, gaskets and seals. The chemical makeup of this foam provides excellent flame-retardant, sound insulating, and temperature resistant properties.

Some types of silicone foam can be extruded over other types of silicone tubing, pressure hose or fiberglass sleeving. Flame retardant varieties of silicone foam used in automotive, aviation, mass transit, furniture, and the electronics industries are flame retardant. Flame retardant foam as thin as 3/8 inch (0.95 cm) can withstand flames and a temperature of 2,100 degrees F (1,150 C) for up to 10 minutes without burning through. Combined with its excellent thermal insulation qualities, silicone foam makes it the perfect choice for airplanes, cars, buses or any other type of vehicle used to transport people and protect them from the elements.

For use in commercial or home construction and furnishings, silicone foam is a perfect fire-retardant, insulating, super light weight, and easy-to-handle material. This fire retardant, insulating foam can be laminated to the underside of carpets, wall coverings, doors and firewall barriers and fire stops to add an extra measure of protection from the dangers of fire, smoke, harmful fumes, vapors and water. For sealing and protecting surrounding materials from the potentially high heat of interior lighting and other electronic components, silicone foam can be provide superior, high-heat insulation.

Another type of silicone foam is manufactured as a thick, liquid type substance that can be applied into cracks, voids, holes and crevices where fire or smoke could penetrate and cause damage. When applied, this foam expands to several times its original mass and effectively produces a seal that is impervious to smoke, fire and water penetration. This low density foam is useful in the production of electrical insulation, thermal insulation, gaskets and seals that must remain viable through the shrinking and expanding cycles associated with rapidly changing temperatures.

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