Which Is Best for Rubber Keypads – Silicon or Silicone?
Some customers believe that silicon and silicone are American and British spellings for the material production companies use in all our custom rubber keypads. They are often quite surprised to learn that these are actually two different materials.
Silicon is a natural product that is used for creating semi-conductors. Silicone is an artificial product that is found a use in heatproof kitchen aids, rubber keypads, and a number of other slippery things too large to mention here. We decided to unpack the differences in more detail, and put the matter finally to bed.
Silicon is a combination of the Latin Silex – meaning hard stone or flint – and the suffix it shares with its associates carbon and boron on the periodic table. It is the eighth most common element in the world (by weight), and is ever-present in dust and sand. It finds its way organically into concrete products, renderings, ceramics and glass. A more modern development has been its use as a semiconductor.
Silicone rubber is an elastomeric compound of natural silicon combined with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. We find is everywhere we need flexible material for implants, automotive parts, footwear and so on. It is generally non-reactive, stable and temperature tolerant. You could expose the silicone rubber keypads we make to temperatures between -55 °C to +300 °C, and still find it pliable the next day.
A Brief History of Silicone
After explaining the right spelling for silicone rubber keypads – while acknowledging the role that silicon plays in them – our customers are often curious to know who invented it in the first place. Actually nobody did. It evolved as society did:
• In ancient times, Stone Age hunters fashioned silica-based materials like quartz into tools and weapons that stamped their presence on the planet.
• In 1824, a Swedish chemist named Jons Jacob Berzelius isolated silicon by heating potassium chips in a silica container, and washing away the residue.
• During the 1930’s James Frank Hyde developed the first practical silicone product for Corning Glass, being an insulating glass cloth.
• The 1940’s saw Dow Corning discovering practical applications like silly bouncing putty, and grip mitts for Mom to cool her frustration on.
• By 1950, we had releasable tapes and labels, organosilane that stuck anything to anything else, and hand lotion to cure dishwater hands.
• In 1969, Neil Armstrong took a giant leap in his silicone rubber boots for humankind. We were making progress. Silicon’s child was becoming useful.
• The 1970’s were good years for silicone. Its use in ultra-thin conformal coatings paved the way for cell phones and laptops that rule our lives.
• In the 1980’s, 3M Corporation released the first post-it tabs. Silicone products performed well at Le Mans. We fixed the Statue of Liberty with it too.
• The 1990’s saw the arrival of auto airbags, two-in-one shampoo conditioners, and antiperspirant deodorant products. The silicone generation was in town.
• The product saved lives in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. It also heralded those handy silicone rubber keypads you came here to find.
The history lesson is over and school is out for now. Drum roll please for Silicone Dynamics custom silicone rubber keypads with a difference. We make no apology for the marketing spin.
Silicon or Silicone – We Make the Difference
Silicon Dynamics is the leading custom silicone rubber keypad manufacturer. Our success stems from our unbeatable adherence to customer requirements, as well as our attention to the detail. The company produces everything from large production runs for cellphones, television remotes and machine switches, to single item prototypes for new developments. Not all rubber keypads are the same or last an equal length of time or use. The quality invested up front can make the difference.
Silicone – and the silicon within it – have found their way into our modern lives. It is hard to think of a computer without both of them – and impossible to conceive how we would continue in business without the latter. Almost everything seems to have a motherboard inside of it, along with a silicone keypad for communication. Silicone Dynamics sees itself as interface between people and technology. The company is proud to be part of progress.
Silicone Dynamics Inc. offers a range of silicone rubber products and the support.
Comprehensive Solutions For All Your Keypad Needs
Silicone Dynamics provides answers to customers’ needs by offering a range of silicone rubber products and engineering support. Your silicone keypad has to do more than just look good it also has to function properly. Our engineers love what they do, and they are happy to help during the design process. From the free engineering keypad to the email and phone support, Silicone Dynamics are there with you from start to finish.
The Process Going Forward
Every rubber keypad and button we manufacture is custom built to customer specifications. To start the process, we need a 3D CAD drawing (.IGS or .STP) along with your estimated annual usage to provide you a quote. If you do not have a CAD drawing yet, send us a sketch of your idea. The professionals at Silicone Dynamics may be able to create the CAD drawing for you.