Silicone cables carry immense benefits for industrial applications. Silicon-coated cables have an extremely high thermal range between -90°C (-130°F) on the low end up to 200°C (392°F) on the high end, making them one of the most reliable cables for heat-sensitive use. Aside from the high thermal resistance, silicon cables are known for their flexibility. Silicone is a rare earth mineral and the natural fire-resistant properties of silicone make it among the most reliable cables when it comes to heat-resistance.
Silicone is a rubber material which is not as mechanically tough as other harder materials that can provide rigid resistance against impact, however, manufacturers found it possible to compensate for this by applying a silicone varnish. Despite that, the main advantage of silicone insulated wire in residential and commercial applications is the fire resistance - when you need to maintain circuit integrity, they are the most reliable cables.
In the event a silicone cable is under fire, there's a layer of fused silica that deposits into the conductor and provides high insulation. It's also possible to add special additives that can enhance the defensive properties of silica for the conductor. Silicone high-temperature cable is classified as "LSZH": Low smoke, and zero halogen material.
The 3 Elements Of Silicone Insulation
Silicone is the most fire-resistant rubber material and the silicon rubber insulation is comprised of 3 main elements: hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Silicon is more expensive than other flame-resistant cables because it is a rare material and it's been a favorite in the industry since the 1940's when it was first used in factories. During the early stages of its development, manufacturers struggled with its limited strength properties but those problems have been solved since.
Manufacturers such as ZW Cable use fillers and additives that strengthen silicone and make it into the most fire-resistant and powerful cables. The newer generation of 16 AWG wire made of silicone is non-reactive and stable. It is also highly resistant to extreme environments, as we'll cover below. As a result of its widespread popularity in manufacturing, silicone cables can be found in many electronics from small batteries to large military vehicles.
Industries That Use Silicone Cables:
· Automotive industry.
· Medical industry.
· Aerospace industry.
· Electronics industry.
· Construction industry.
· Manufacturing industry.
The internals of silicone cables is similar to other popular cables such as PVC cables and Teflon cables. On the inside they are made of copper stranded conductors. The insulation, however, is vastly different and what sets silicone apart. The ‘jacket’ of silicone cables is comprised of powerful silicone rubber and a mix of other chemicals that strengthen it.There are different strands of wires in each silicone cable, and sometimes they have different colors in order to signify the functions. There are also variations among the silicon cables. Some are suitable for power transmission lines while others are suitable for smaller electrical connections in devices.
Businesses of all kinds can benefit from silicone cables. Electronics manufacturers, construction/real estate businesses, medical equipment manufacturers, aerospace companies, and other businesses that rely on high thermal resistance inside their products should consider silicone cables for the advantages they can offer. The most popular insulated cables today are PVC cables, but silicone cables provide higher insulation at a slightly greater cost. Silicone cables can be interlinked with other cables. Silicone cables are slowly gaining in popularity in a number of different fields due to their performance. Let's have a look at the top 8 advantages of silicone cables:
1) Flame Resistance
Silicone cables are the #1 cables when you want to maintain circuit integrity in the event of a fire. The main advantage over other insulated cables is the extreme flame resistance. If you want to minimize the damage upon fire, you should consider silicone cables. Their mineral flame-resistant properties make them ideal for various industrial applications. Whereas other cables would melt, silicone cables provide resistance during a fire and provide enough time to put out the fire.
2) High Flexibility
The public associates silicone with flexibility as it's one of the most flexible rubbers in the world. In industrial applications, you're going to need to flex the cable to adjust it for different purposes, and this makes 16 AWG wire silicone cables one of the most versatile on the market. They are capable of withstanding high flexing for a range of applications.
3) Chemical Insulation
Contemporary silicone cables are equipped with a protective coating that makes them resistant to different chemicals and substances that might harm other cables. If you work in an environment with a lot of unpredictable chemicals, silicone cables are highly reliable.
4) Thermal Resistance
Silicone cables have high thermal resistance and they are one of the most versatile cables - this is what makes them premium cables. Silicone cables can not only withstand high temperatures but extremely low temperatures as well.
Industrial-grade silicone cables can withstand as much as +300°C (+572°F) and as low as -90°C (-130°F). Even basic silicone cables have a thermal resistance of up to +200°C (+392°F). Effectively, silicone cables are guaranteed to maintain excellent transmission properties and retain their softness/flexibility no matter the temperature.
5) Compression Resistance
Silicone cables retain their original shape even with prolonged exposure to pressure. If you're used to working with cables that permanently bend after they're subjected to pressure, you should consider making the switch to silicone cables that maintain their original form even after prolonged pressure.
Example: When you compress a silicone cable between two machines, it returns to the original form once you lift the pressure. This allows you to bend and flex it many times over without causing damage.
6) Suitable For Outdoor Use
Silicone cables are suitable for outdoor use where they can be subject to extreme environmental conditions. For instance, it's possible to use silicone cables on rooftops for solar applications where they will be exposed to constant heat. If you need a cable that is highly environmentally resistant to the elements such as water and flame, they're a go-to cable.
7) Clean Mineral
Silicone rubber belongs to the inert polymer category which makes it a non-reactive chemical. This is why silicone cables are one of the few cables safe to use in the food industry. For instance, silicone cables can be found in beer production and breweries as hoses because they don't cause damage to the products that flow through them. Silicone can come in touch with foods and beverages without contaminating them - making silicone one of the greenest rubber materials to date.
8) Chemical Insulation
Silicone coated wires have high chemical resistance which makes them more reliable for industrial applications than other insular types such as PVC cables. Silicone is resistant to most widespread chemicals such as oil/gas, ozone, and more. If you visit ZW Cable's silicone cable section, you'll find most of our silicone rubber is resistant to virtually all forms of harmful chemicals and we provide numerous color options for our cables.
The final debate: Are silicone wires better than PVC wires? If you're on the market for an insular wire, you're likely considering one of these two wires. PVC wires are made from Polyvinyl chloride, a powerful white chemical that is manufactured to provide rigidness and flexibility. PVC wires are the most popular and common wires - they're also cheaper than silicone wires.
To manufacture PVC wires, manufacturers also apply the chemical coating in order to improve the end material and add heat-resistance and elasticity to the product. PVC is the best-selling plastic in the world and serves as the main replacement for rubber. This insulator doesn't crack or harden with prolonged exposure to the elements.
PVC cables and silicone cables are both used for electronic applications in batteries and electronics as they provide long-term performance that can last as much as 30 years without a glitch. PVC, similar to silicone, also has chemical-resistant properties including resistance to corrosion and abrasion. These are the main characteristics that made PVC wires the most popular plastic wires for industrial use. With the modernization of PVC wires and the addition of plasticizers, this increased the flexibility of PVC wires. They have high insulation and don't suffer from static even with grit attached to them.
Silicone cables are made of silicone rubber while PVC cables are made of hardened plastic, which makes them less flexible. This can be a major selling point for industries where flexibility matters. Even though PVC is more widespread, it has disadvantages compared to silicone rubber. PVC cables don't offer the same flexibility and elasticity of silicone cables.
Heat insulation on silicone cables is superior. If you're forced to make connections in a tight space, you're going to benefit immensely from the elasticity of silicone. Silicone wires are also superior in terms of heat-resistance. While PVC is mostly resistant between -40°C (-40°F) and up to 105°C (221°F), silicone wires are usually resistant from -90°C (-130°F) up to 200°C (392°F). Silicone cables are also superior in fire-resistance, making them more reliable for maintaining circuitry in the event of a fire.