Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Silicone Elastomers – Inevitable but can be eliminated.

elastomer outgassingIt is generally known that silicones have better performance against various factors compared to other elastomers being silicones as widely used and trusted material in different applications. And yet one of the few of its limitations being an effective material for instance as a sealant is due to its volatile component outgassing, otherwise known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

On this article we will discuss whether outgassing can still be managed or reduced on elastomers particularly silicones when being used as gasketing material on certain applications. In order also to avoid misconceptions and confusions in regard to silicone outgassing, we will further investigate applications using silicones with concerns about volatile compounds.

In many industries like petroleum refineries and chemical plants where elastomers are being commonly used as sealants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the cause of contamination of groundwater and surface water. They are present in many effluents as essential industrial materials but are toxic to humans. Exposure to VOCs can cause cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma and many other health issues.

elastomer volatile organic compoundHowever, the outgassing in silicones used as sealing materials will be reduced through the process of post-curing. International standards concerning the performance of elastomers parallel to outgassing has proved that silicones are the appropriate sealing materials since they have been tested for minimal outgassing.

Incidentally, measurements of weight being lost are generally used as an indicator of outgassing in elastomers. Specific values for vacuum weight loss depend on the elastomer and sample conditioning. Here below is the summary of elastomers in regard to outgassing.

silicone elastomer
Indeed, post-curing done on silicones is known to be very effective in minimizing finished part outgassing and it can help eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Where in the rate of removed volatile compounds during post-cure immediately drops off after only just an hour.

VOCs from elastomersAlthough volatiles still remain after post-curing, therefore it is still very important to use solid silicone rubber in certain applications on a well-ventilated environment. Many tests also have showed that solid silicone rubbers like that of Jehbco generate less volatile material.

To find out more about Jehbco’s solid silicone rubber, review the website and Contact Us right here.