Silicone tubing is a tough elastomer. Flexible but strong, the tubing is a vital material across a broad range of industries.
The material’s resistance makes it suitable for lots of different devices, but some important properties make it particularly useful in healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.
In this guide, we look at what silicone tubing is and how it is manufactured before diving into some of the properties and applications of the tubing.
What is silicone tubing
Silicone tubing is manufactured from silicone rubber, an elastomer that has found sealing and gasketing work in many settings.
Rubber is a key material in our modern industrial society. It is sturdy and durable and plays an important part in industrial processes and household basic products.
Silicone rubber has several advantages other types of rubber. It has a high elongation and tear strength. It’s also resistant to high temperatures and fire.
Its good range of properties means that silicone rubber is used in many products including undergarments, sportswear, footwear, electronics, medical devices and implants, cooking and baking supplies and in automotive products.
Silicone tubing is manufactured from silicone rubber by an extrusion process, during which the rubber is commonly treated to improve some key attributes while, at the same time, maintaining many of the properties that makes silicone rubber so widely accepted.
Silicone tubing features and applications
Hilltop Products sells a comprehensive range of silicone tubing. With many different types and sizes, you are sure to find a product suitable for your application.
The tubing has good physical properties. It is flexible and can be stretched without tearing. This means that the material can be worked round and round without weakening. It is also easy to wrap up and store the tubing when it is not in use.
The material is also clean and non-toxic, it is good for a broad range of temperatures and can handle sudden temperature changes.
These properties make it desirable in a whole range of industrial and household applications.
Silicone tubing has other properties too that make it suitable for certain specialist functions. The material often has a translucent quality, so is often used as industrial tubing for transporting food products and powders, while giving operators some visibility of the inside of the tube.
Many kinds of silicone tubing are also non-toxic and odourless, so they won’t interact negatively with edible products that pass through. These tubes, which are wider than other tubes, can be used in a similar way in the medical sector.
Silicone tubing has good chemical resistance too, which means that it is easy to clean and sterilise the tubes.
Smaller sized tubes are often used as cable sleeving and other electronic applications because silicone tubing has good weather, UV, radiation and ozone resistance.
Silicone tubing in the medical sector
Silicone tubing’s properties also make it useful in the medical sector. We have already seen that silicone tubing is tough and easy to clean and sterilise. These properties are understandably valued by medical practitioners.
But one of the most important properties of silicone tubing from a medical standpoint is that it is biocompatible, meaning it is not harmful or toxic to living tissues and unlikely to yield an allergenic response.
This makes silicone tubing a popular material for medical implants, catheters, drains, feeding tubes and other medical products where biocompatibility is a key requirement.
Silicone tubing is vital for these devices, providing important sealing, gasketing and safe fluid transfer properties that are impossible with most other materials.
Silicone tubing used in medical devices is usually of a higher grade. It is manufactured using a continuous extrusion and vulcanization process.
It is possible to produce very fine tubes, often used for capillaries, as well as much wider tubes that can be used for transporting crucial fluids.
For more information about silicone tubing, please contact a member of the accounts team. They will be able to answer any of your questions about the silicone tubing products we carry. Call: 01942 723 101.