Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)

Gentle will be defined as electromagnetic radiation which has totally different frequencies and wavelength. The spectrum that may be picked up by the retina of a human eye is known as visible light [1]. Materials by way of which gentle can refracted, mirrored, transmitted, dispersed, polarized, detected and transformed are referred to as optical materials [2].

Optical Supplies

The variety of optical materials has expanded recently. In the past, glass and other ceramic materials have been the few materials accessible that offered the very best refractive index values. If we look at glass specifically, the chemical structure of glass is formed by Silicon (Si) and Oxygen (O) with low-vary arrangement [3]. The atoms in glass are arranged randomly, and because of this construction, glass is transparent (Fig.1) [2]. Conversely, metals have an organized construction and therefore should not transparent. In glass, photons (the elementary particles that kind the sunshine) are able to go by glass without interacting with any atom [2]. Due to this construction, it has low mechanical properties and high density (between 2.Three and 6.Three g/cm3) [1], which will be considered a disadvantage.

Fig. 1 Chemical structure of glass

Optically Clear Polymers

Some polymers have innate properties much like glass, but they have low bodily properties. Examples of some of these polymers embrace the thermoplastic supplies Polycarbonate (Pc), and Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) which can be processed utilizing injection molding; and Epoxy resins (EPI), thermoset supplies that are compression molded [4]. These thermoplastic and thermoset materials have benefits, including top quality surfaces reflecting the mold surface, they are easily processed, and so they can be found in a variety of grades with a variety of properties. There are disadvantages as effectively, including thermal stability − their thermal properties are low in comparison with glass [3].

Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)

Optically clear grades of LSR polymers supply benefits over each glass and thermoplastic and thermoset optical polymers. Optical silicone rubber has been around awhile, with the primary optically clear silicone rubber developed in the 1950s [5]. The chemical buildings of liquid silicone rubber and glass have components in common. Like glass, LSR can also be formed by Si and O (Fig. 2), however the additional radicals in its structure is what makes silicone rubbers opaque or translucent by nature. Although common in some regards, the mechanical and physical properties of Liquid Silicone Rubber are superior to glass and carbon-based mostly polymers [6]. In relation to hardness, LSRs may be as flexible as 5 Shore A, or as arduous as glass (roughly ninety Shore A). Its density can also be a plus, it ranges between 1.1 and 2.Three g/cm3, significantly decrease than glass [7].

Thermal Performance

Most purposes specifying optical materials will be in excessive temperature environments. Because of LSR’s good thermal stability, optically clear Liquid Silicone Rubber performs well and maintains its transparency with out lowering over time [7]. Thermoset epoxy resins for instance don’t carry out properly, their clarity decreases and can turn black when subjected to 200°C for 200 hours. LSRs provide advantages over polycarbonates as effectively, the optical LSR materials will maintain homogeneous gentle distribution over a spread of wavelengths, whereas when polycarbonate is used at particular wavelengths, it is going to flip yellow [3].

Fig. 2 Chemical construction of silicone rubber [3]

Chemical Construction and Additives

Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber, without any additives and with totally different molecular weights, have been proven in material literature to include Phenyl, Methyl and Trifluoropropyl teams in its chemical construction [8]. So how does one-half optical silicone rubber differ from other liquid silicone rubbers? During the synthesis, the polymer repeat unit is modified and creates a short-vary structure similar to glass. The drawback of this modification is its clarity will lower due to thermal aging, similar to the carbon-primarily based polymers. Desk 1 presents the refractive index of these optical silicone rubbers in comparison with glass [3].

Desk 1. Refractive indexes of various silicone rubbers compared with glass [3]

Although one-half optical silicone rubber can be used, optical silicones with two-part addition curing are extra generally used and most popular. In two-part LSRs, the vulcanization is activated using a platinum catalyst [9]. Also, particular silicone rubbers catalyzed using 2,5-dimethyl-2, 5-di(t-butylperoxy) hexane is considered optimum due its absence of by-products [4]. To improve the clarity of silicone mold rubber, it is critical to switch its chemical construction, typically using additives. The main goal of the additives is to alter the refractive index till it is the same or very similar to glass’s refractive index. The mostly used additive is the silicon dioxide (silica) which has a rod-shape morphology and a median particle dimension of roughly 15 nm. Apart from the primary objective being to improve the mechanical properties, silicone wholesale this additive can also enhance the optical properties as nicely [10]. The addition of extra-effective silica or wet-course of hydrophobic silica affects the morphology so it retains its clarity even at excessive temperatures, and also improves processing.

Optical Readability Measurement

The readability of a fabric may be evaluated using completely different properties: proportion of gentle transmission, refractive index, share of haze (a measure of the diffused and transmitted mild), Abbe number (measurement of the material’s mild dispersion), and yellowness index, (calculated based mostly on shade changes in the fabric brought on by natural or artificial radiation). In assessing the optical quality of Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) vs. glass primarily based on these metrics, optical LSRs are superior in all except haze and yellowness index, where glass has higher values. If you have any kind of questions concerning where and exactly how to make use of silicone wholesale, you can contact us at our own web site. General, the optical properties of a modified optical LSR, are usually better than Computer and PMMA polymers, and glass as nicely [3].


Optical Liquid Silicone Rubbers are more and more replacing glass in lighting purposes, notably in bulbs. Glass utilized in these kinds of functions, with high energy consumption the high temperature on the glass floor is the primary trigger for the brief life of the product [11]. In 1962, light-emitting diode (LED) had been launched. The LED is a two-lead semiconductor gentle source that is activated when a voltage is applied that releases vitality within the type of photons (light). The usage of optical LSRs in these purposes offers elevated product life, because of the material’s thermal stability even in high temperature even over an extended time period [1]. Figure three exhibits the comparability between the glass bulb and the LED lightning system with a Liquid Silicone Rubber enclosure.

Determine 3. Glass mild bulb and optical silicone rubber LED bulb [3]

Different merchandise where silicone rubber can be used embrace white reflectors and diffusers used in lightning, electronic or automotive functions. As a refractive or TIR (Whole Inside Reflection) lens, with the appropriated design, the light loss during reflection is eradicated completely. Optical LSRs are additionally used successfully in imagery and scanning applications, in bar-code scanners, spectrometers and particle counters [3]. In medical functions, optical Liquid Silicone Rubber may be found in tubing, endoscopy components, catheters and lenses. In new, emerging telecommunications fields, optical LSRs are used in microlens arrays, and diffractive optical components; in electrical applications they are often present in solar collection merchandise and as fibers in photonics [8]. For photonics functions, ultraviolet (UV) mild is used to cure the silicone rubber; the publicity of the fabric to an acceptable wavelength permits the generation of waveguide’s patterns that can be used successfully in lithography.

Along with applications for optical silicone rubber with visible spectrums of mild, there are also applications in other ranges of light. For example, purposes with UV-seen / Near Infrared range used for information transmission [11]. Relying on the chemical composition of the grade and additives used, LSR wavelengths can vary between 850 nm and 1300-1600 nm.

Processing Liquid Silicone Rubber

The processing of optical Liquid Silicone Rubber can also be important for attaining fascinating properties in the final product. Just like optical carbon-primarily based polymers, silicone rubbers may be injection molded, compression molded or forged [6]. LSR’s short processing time, no material waste due to the elimination of sprues and runners, and its initial low viscosity, allows for the manufacturing of tight tolerance complex merchandise. As well as, put on on the machine, and mold parts occurs at a really gradual price, and very low birefringence is generated which can be a problem for some optical functions. Throughout the cooling process (after processing), internal stresses are usually not created when processing LSR, even in thick walls, offering elevated mechanical and dimensional stability in the end products [13]. From the rheological point of view, optical Liquid Silicone Rubber’s inherent viscosity is independent of the shear charge, and is decrease in contrast to straightforward LSR, positively affecting the processing, for instance the circulation could be managed and predicted easily. Figure 4 exhibits the comparability in conduct between customary LSR and optical Liquid Silicone Rubber.

Figure 4. Comparability of habits between customary and optical silicone rubber [14]

Although LSRs have many processing benefits, there are also some concerns to take into consideration when processing. The primary consideration involves the composition of the material, because most optical LSRs are comprised of two-elements, mixing is required. It is important that the fabric is homogenous and combined effectively before processing [14]. Additionally variables resembling shrinkage, half geometry, and the floor end of the mold can negatively affect the optical properties and must be addressed. As a result of its low viscosity, there’s a tendency for flash to be generated within the product, for that reason, extra design considerations are essential to avoid or minimize flashing.

LSR injection molders, for instance SIMTEC Silicone Components, who are considered experts in Liquid Silicone Rubber expertise, utilize their data, expertise, and advanced manufacturing to optimize the manufacturing of top of the range LSR, Two-Shot, and Multi-Shot LSR components.


1. https://www.merriam-webster.com.

2. https://www.researchgate.web/publication/279946258_Optical_Supplies

3. http://ww.dow-corning.com

4. M. Altman, J.D. Lytle. Optical design strategies for polymer optics. S.P.I.E. Proceeding, Vol. 237, 380-385, 1980.

5. G. Gu, Q.L. Zhou. Preparation of high power and optically transparent silicone rubber. European Polymer Journal, Vol 34, No. 11, 1727-1733, 1998

6. http://www.wacker.com

7. http://omnexus.specialchem.com/centers/liquid-silicone-rubber

8. http://www.momentive.com

9. https://www.wacker.com

10. Jones, W. Ando, J. Chojnowski. Silicon-containing polymers, Kluwer Tutorial Publishers, Dordrech, 2000

11. http://www.quantumsilicones.com

12. http://www.nusil.com

13. E. Mark. Some interesting issues about Polysiloxanes. Accounts of Chemical Analysis, Vol.

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