What Is Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)?
Silicone rubber is a unique material known for its biocompatibility (more on that later), versatility and durability. Unlike thermoplastics, which may not be designed for long-term use, medical grade silicone can be made to last. What is silicone? In many cases, it’s an ideal material for medical, biopharmaceutical, food storage, and household applications.
As you may have guessed, we at SiliconeGear love, well, silicone rubber. Our founding mission is to produce quality, sustainably-minded products from medical grade materials and make them available at factory-direct prices since we are a factory. 100% of our products are manufactured at our own facility in Sanford, Maine.
Whether you have a medical grade silicone product idea or are just curious about the material, we’ll try to answer all of your questions in this guide.
The following is meant for educational purposes and should not be read as medical advice.
1. What Is Silicone Rubber?
Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) is a stretchy polymer known for a few key characteristics:
- Resistance to temperature
- Water resistance
In other words, medical grade silicone can be safe to use in cookware, medical devices, and other items that are exposed to human skin or food.
Keep in mind that not all silicone in medical: The best way to ensure that the material meets quality standards is to source it from an American manufacturer. Silicone rubber is expensive, so it is not uncommon for overseas manufacturers to dilute a material labeled as “medical” with fillers to save on costs.
2. What Does Biocompatible Mean?
In essence, it means that something is compatible with human tissue. Something that is biocompatible should not create a toxic response from the human body. Materials that are labeled biocompatible are frequently used in medical devices, ranging from menstrual cups to prosthetics.
3. Is Silicone Plastic?
Technically, it is a polymer, meaning that it is a plastic. Yet it functions very differently from thermoplastics, which is the type of plastic usually associated with the term. The more accurate description is that silicone is a rubber, though of much higher quality than natural rubber, which is not recommended for use inside the human body.
4. What Is Food Grade Silicone Rubber?
There are a lot of ways to describe silicone, food grade being one of them. In short, there are two main distinction between high quality material:
- Food grade
- Medical grade
As their names would suggest, food grade silicone is safe to use for food storage or cooking. Medical grade is considered a step above that, meaning that it can be used in applications that touch human skin or are in contact with other human tissue.
At SiliconeGear, we exclusively work with medical grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR). In other words, we injection mold all of our products in our ISO 13485 certified facility in Maine. Injection molding is a great way to create high-quality products in contrast with cheaper compression molding.
5. What Is Silicone Made of?
The main ingredients are silicon, which is a chemical element, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. Silicon can also be found in silica, an oxide which forms sand.
6. What Does High Temp Silicone Mean?
This material is designed to withstand intense heat after it has cured — meaning up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one of silicone rubber’s big advantages for food applications like cookware.
By contrast, thermoplastic will melt at a much lower temperature. Ever left a water bottle in a hot car and noticed a strange taste? That may be because the thermoplastic has melted due to the heat. Silicone does not do that, making it ideal for food storage at any temperature. It also makes it dishwasher-safe.
7. What Can You Make out of Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)? 6 Examples
As a factory, we have two decades of experience designing and producing thing from liquid silicone rubber. Here are a few projects we’ve worked on in the past and present.
Silicone Face Masks
The CDC has recommended that people cover their faces outside, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are soon launching a face mask, which will be available for individual and wholesale orders on this website. Stay tuned.
Silicone Rubber Scuba Diving Equipment
SiliconeGear is best known as a manufacturer of high-quality scuba diving equipment, including our longbite and standard mouthpieces, octo straps, and octo necklaces. We love creating comfortable, temperature-resistant dive equipment used all over the world.
Medical Grade Silicone Menstrual Cups
We are an FDA-registered menstrual cup producer and offer our own design for wholesale in various sizes. If you’d like to private label our Casco Cup, please reach out to email@example.com. Have your own menstrual cup design? We have extensive product design experience and can help get your project up-and-running.
Reusable Silicone Bags
We are working on a reusable sandwich bag, ideal for storing cooking ingredients, snacks, and even computer cords. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritizing other PPE projects to give healthcare workers and Americans access to the gear they need.
Medical Device Components
As a manufacturer, our specialty lies in technically challenging medical device component designs, including gaskets, tubes and other essential parts for ventilators, biopharmaceutical equipment, and more. Please visit Casco Bay Molding to learn more about our experience with these B2B projects.
Say goodbye to rubber bands. ExerTies are the medical-grade silicone ties that you’ll never want to live without. What originally started as a sleeve scrunchie for people seeking to roll up their sleeves while working out, ExerTies quickly became so much more for our customers, notably as cable ties, way to secure a food container or group crafts supplies together.
What Is Liquid Silicone Rubber? A Versatile Material
SiliconeGear has long held the belief that silicone rubber is the material of the future. Today, we’re pleased to make various household necessities, outdoor gear, and healthcare devices from medical grade material. As always, 100% of the products you see on this site are made in USA in our facility. We prioritize quality, design, and durability.