Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)

Mild can be defined as electromagnetic radiation which has different frequencies and wavelength. The spectrum that may be picked up by the retina of a human eye is called seen gentle [1]. Materials by means of which light can refracted, mirrored, transmitted, dispersed, polarized, detected and remodeled are referred to as optical materials [2].

Optical Materials

The number of optical materials has expanded lately. Prior to now, glass and other ceramic supplies have been the few materials accessible that offered the most effective refractive index values. If we have a look at glass specifically, the chemical construction of glass is formed by Silicon (Si) and Oxygen (O) with low-vary arrangement [3]. The atoms in glass are organized randomly, and because of this construction, glass is transparent (Fig.1) [2]. Conversely, metals have an organized construction and therefore aren’t transparent. In glass, photons (the elementary particles that form the light) are capable of cross by glass without interacting with any atom [2]. Because of this structure, it has low mechanical properties and excessive density (between 2.3 and 6.Three g/cm3) [1], which might be considered a drawback.

Fig. 1 Chemical construction of glass

Optically Transparent Polymers

Some polymers have innate properties much like glass, but they’ve low bodily properties. Examples of a few of these polymers include the thermoplastic materials Polycarbonate (Pc), and Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) which are processed utilizing injection molding; and Epoxy resins (EPI), thermoset supplies which might be compression molded [4]. These thermoplastic and thermoset supplies have advantages, together with high quality surfaces reflecting the mold surface, they’re simply processed, and they are available in a variety of grades with a wide range of properties. There are disadvantages as nicely, together with 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 first optically clear silicone rubber developed in the 1950s [5]. The chemical constructions of liquid silicone rubber and glass have parts in widespread. Like glass, LSR is also formed by Si and O (Fig. 2), silicone gadget nonetheless the extra radicals in its structure is what makes silicone rubbers opaque or translucent by nature. Though widespread 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 will be as flexible as 5 Shore A, or as hard as glass (approximately 90 Shore A). Its density can also be a plus, it ranges between 1.1 and 2.3 g/cm3, considerably decrease than glass [7].

Thermal Efficiency

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

Fig. 2 Chemical construction of silicone rubber [3]

Chemical Structure and Additives

Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber, without any additives and with totally different molecular weights, have been proven in materials literature to comprise Phenyl, Methyl and Trifluoropropyl groups in its chemical construction [8]. So how does one-half optical silicone rubber differ from other liquid silicone rubbers? Through the synthesis, the polymer repeat unit is modified and creates a brief-range construction just like glass. The drawback of this modification is its readability will lower because of thermal aging, much like the carbon-primarily based polymers. Table 1 presents the refractive index of these optical silicone rubbers in comparison with glass [3].

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

Though one-part optical silicone rubber can be utilized, optical silicones with two-half addition curing are extra commonly used and most popular. In two-half LSRs, the vulcanization is activated utilizing a platinum catalyst [9]. Also, special silicone rubbers catalyzed utilizing 2,5-dimethyl-2, 5-di(t-butylperoxy) hexane is considered optimum due its absence of by-merchandise [4]. To enhance the clarity of silicone rubber, it is important to modify its chemical structure, usually using additives. The main objective of the additives is to alter the refractive index until it is similar or very just like glass’s refractive index. The mostly used additive is the silicon dioxide (silica) which has a rod-form morphology and a median particle measurement of approximately 15 nm. Aside from the primary objective being to improve the mechanical properties, this additive may also improve the optical properties as properly [10]. The addition of additional-effective silica or wet-process hydrophobic silica impacts the morphology so it retains its clarity even at excessive temperatures, and likewise improves processing.

Optical Clarity Measurement

The clarity of a cloth could be evaluated using totally different properties: proportion of gentle transmission, refractive index, share of haze (a measure of the diffused and transmitted mild), Abbe quantity (measurement of the material’s gentle dispersion), and yellowness index, (calculated based on colour modifications in the material caused 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 besides haze and yellowness index, the place glass has higher values. General, the optical properties of a modified optical LSR, are typically better than Computer and PMMA polymers, and glass as properly [3].


Optical Liquid Silicone Rubbers are more and more changing glass in lighting functions, notably in bulbs. Glass utilized in some of these applications, with high vitality consumption the excessive temperature on the glass floor is the primary trigger for the brief life of the product [11]. In 1962, light-emitting diode (LED) have been introduced. The LED is a two-lead semiconductor gentle supply that is activated when a voltage is utilized that releases power within the type of photons (gentle). The usage of optical LSRs in these purposes gives increased product life, due to the material’s thermal stability even in excessive temperature even over an extended time period [1]. Figure 3 reveals the comparability between the glass bulb and the LED lightning system with a Liquid Silicone Rubber enclosure.

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

Different products where silicone rubber can be utilized include white reflectors and diffusers utilized in lightning, electronic or automotive applications. As a refractive or TIR (Whole Inside Reflection) lens, with the appropriated design, the sunshine loss during reflection is eliminated utterly. Optical LSRs are additionally used efficiently in imagery and scanning purposes, in bar-code scanners, spectrometers and particle counters [3]. In medical applications, optical Liquid silicone mold Rubber might be found in tubing, endoscopy parts, catheters and lenses. In new, rising telecommunications fields, optical LSRs are utilized in microlens arrays, and diffractive optical elements; in electrical applications they are often present in photo voltaic assortment merchandise and as fibers in photonics [8]. For photonics purposes, ultraviolet (UV) light is used to cure the silicone rubber; the exposure of the material to an applicable wavelength permits the technology of waveguide’s patterns that can be used successfully in lithography.

Along with functions for optical silicone rubber with seen spectrums of light, there are also applications in different ranges of mild. For example, functions with UV-visible / Near Infrared vary used for data 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 be important for attaining fascinating properties in the final product. Similar to optical carbon-based polymers, silicone rubbers might be injection molded, compression molded or solid [6]. LSR’s brief processing time, no material waste due to the elimination of sprues and runners, and its preliminary low viscosity, allows for the production of tight tolerance complicated merchandise. As well as, put on on the machine, and silicone gadget mold components occurs at a very slow fee, and very low birefringence is generated which could be a problem for some optical applications. In the course of the cooling process (after processing), internal stresses aren’t created when processing LSR, even in thick partitions, offering elevated mechanical and dimensional stability in the end merchandise [13]. From the rheological point of view, optical Liquid Silicone Rubber’s inherent viscosity is independent of the shear rate, and is decrease compared to standard LSR, positively affecting the processing, for example the flow will be controlled and predicted simply. Determine four shows the comparability in conduct between standard LSR and optical Liquid Silicone Rubber.

Determine 4. Comparability of habits between standard and optical silicone rubber [14]

Although LSRs have many processing advantages, there are additionally some considerations to take into consideration when processing. The primary consideration involves the composition of the material, as a result of most optical LSRs are comprised of two-elements, mixing is required. It is vital that the material is homogenous and blended well earlier than processing [14]. Also variables reminiscent of shrinkage, part geometry, and the floor end of the mold can negatively have an effect on the optical properties and ought to be addressed. Due to its low viscosity, there’s a tendency for flash to be generated within the product, for that cause, further design issues are essential to keep away from or decrease flashing.

LSR injection molders, for instance SIMTEC Silicone Elements, who are regarded as specialists in Liquid Silicone Rubber know-how, make the most of their data, expertise, and superior 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.internet/publication/279946258_Optical_Materials

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

4. M. Altman, J.D. Lytle. Optical design methods 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. If you have any concerns concerning wherever and how to use silicone rubber cost, you can get hold of us at the web-site. momentive.com

9. https://www.wacker.com

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

11. http://www.quantumsilicones.com

12. http://www.nusil.com

13. E. Mark. Some attention-grabbing things about Polysiloxanes. Accounts of Chemical Analysis, Vol.

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