Conductive silicone rubbers are conductive compounds possessing strong elasticity, high flexibility, and enhanced mechanical properties. They exhibit excellent thermal and electrical conductance. Furthermore, they exhibit resistance to heat, cold, and other adverse weather conditions. As compared to a conventional metallic conductor, conductive silicone rubber is highly flexible and resistant to corrosion owing to its low density and high elasticity. Usage of conductive silicone rubber provides excellent electromagnetic shielding effect along with protection from electrostatic discharge in its electrical applications.
Conductive silicone rubbers are prepared by curing silicone rubbers at room temperature. Silicone rubbers are manufactured by silicones that are the polymer of silicon, containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and other elements at times. Conductive fillers are added during the curing process to impart conductive properties in silicone rubbers. Several types of conductive fillers such as carbon fibers, carbon black, copper fibers, and nickel-coated graphite are used as reinforcement agents in conductive silicone rubbers. The silicone rubber that is manufactured can be molded into various shapes such as sheets and strips based on commercial requirement.
Conductive silicone rubbers are widely used in several end-user industries due to their thermal and electrical conductivity properties. End-user industries such as electrical, electronics, automotive, defense & aerospace, and heavy industrial machineries experience broad usage of conductive silicone rubber. Electrically conductive silicone rubber is used in wires, cables, EMI shielding gaskets, and ESD shielding applications in electrical and electronics industries. Conductive silicone rubbers are used in EMP protection and wave guide application. They are used in military and aerospace equipment owing to their EMI shielding effects. Silicone rubber is used in car engines and wiring harness in the automotive industry. It is also used in automotive to detect the presence of deformation. Heavy machinery equipment required in the oil & gas industry also uses conductive silicone rubbers as thermal management material. They provide thermal conductance coupled with flexible electronic encapsulation. Furthermore, conductive silicone rubber is potentially employed in several electronic consumer goods and healthcare equipment among others. It is also applied in electrodes that are used in medical equipment and ceramic oscillators.
The global conductive silicone rubber market has witnessed prospective growth in the recent years. Additionally, the market is projected to experience significant growth rate in the next few years. Asia Pacific dominated the market for conductive silicone rubber in the past few years. Rising economy coupled with increased purchasing capacity in countries such as China, India, and South Korea enabled enormous growth of electronic, electrical, and automotive industries. This, in turn, resulted in substantial growth of the conductive silicone rubber market. North America also held substantial share of the global conductive silicone rubber market in 2014. Growth in major end-user industries in developed countries such as the U.S. and Canada has driven demand for conductive silicone rubber. North America is likely to experience steady growth during the forecast period. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are projected to be emerging markets for conductive silicone rubber in the next few years. Developing countries such as Brazil and Saudi Arabia are expected to be potential markets for conductive silicone rubber during the forecast period due to strong demand from electrical, electronic, automotive industries.
Developing countries such as India, China, Brazil, and South Africa have witnessed promising growth of major end-user industries in the past few years. This in turn, is likely to fuel demand for conductive silicone rubber in next few years. Increasing demand for lightweight and high-end automotive is estimated to boost the market for conductive silicone rubber in the next few years. Furthermore, expansion of the oil & gas industry in Asia Pacific is anticipated to be a key driver for the conductive silicone rubber market.
Key manufacturers of conductive silicone rubber include Dow Corning Corporation, KCC Corporation, Momentive, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd., Specialty Silicone Products, Inc., and Wacker Chemie AG.
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