Silicone wire is extremely flexible and resistant to high temperatures, everyone knows that. There are some misconceptions regarding silicone wire and silicone cables. Listed below are five things you probably didn’t know about silicone insulated wire that I get asked frequently.
1. It doesn’t have to be tacky. Recently at a trade show I handed a visitor a sample of our silicone wire and he said: “Wow, this isn’t sticky, we stay away from silicone because it’s always sticky.” Silicone rubber is normally tacky, this can be a problem especially in medical applications where you don’t want dirt sticking to the cable. Silicone cables can be made so they are not tacky or sticky. This is accomplished with manufacturing techniques and formulas can be used to make the jacket smooth and not tacky. Normally silicone wire and cable is coated with Mica to keep it from sticking to itself during the manufacturing process, this coating is not acceptable in some applications that requiring clean environments. The alternative is to manufacture the silicone so it is not sticky from the start.
2. Available in ribbon cables. Silicone cables can be manufactured as ribbon cable a few different ways. Silicone ribbon cables can be extruded, bonded and even molded into ribbon and flat cables. Silicone ribbon cables can be extruded as a ribbon cable which offers the tightest center to center tolerances. Bonding the ribbon cable involves extruding the individual silicone wires separately then they are bonded together, this method is less expensive than extruding the ribbon cable because there normally isn’t any additional tooling involved. Molded ribbon cables are usually silicone wires encapsulated with a silicone outer jacket, this method allows for unique flat shapes.
3. Low outgassing formulas are available. Aerospace, specifically space applications often have outgassing restrictions for the wire and cable. Recent advancements with silicone formulas and manufacturing techniques have created low outgassing silicone wire and cable. For space craft and satellite applications Calmont manufactures silicone wire and cable products which meet NASA .01% TML requirement. Depending on your outgassing requirements, check with your silicone cable manufacturer to find out what is available. Click here to view Aerospace insulation properties chart.
4. Reinforced silicone is available. High strength silicone formulas are now being used to increase abrasion resistance of silicone wire and cable. Fluorosilicone has better abrasion resistance than the standard silicone. Additional measures can be taken to reduce abrasion such as strength members between layers and nylon outer braid to protect the silicone insulation.
5. Doesn’t burn. Silicone insulation is self extinguishing, it will not burn. Flame retardant additives can be added to meet flame requirements such as VF1.
To learn more about insulation properties including silicone insulation view our chart HERE or contact the experts at Calmont today to have your questions answered. Calmont Wire & Cable is an experienced silicone wire and cable manufacturer which can answer your questions and provide suggestions for your cable design needs.
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