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What Are the Different Types of Silicone Sleeving?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated May 17, 2024
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Silicone sleeving has a variety of industrial, mechanical, and medical uses. The compound silicone is used because its properties make it safe and effective. It is heat resistant, cold resistant, radiation resistant, flame retardant, water repellant and provides electrical insulation. Additionally, this type of sleeving can be composed of different kinds of silicone, including silicone rubbers, fluids, and resin.

In the medical field, plaster casts with silicone sleeving are used for broken bones and limb amputations. Casts with silicone sleeving are beneficial because they have been found to heal patients quickly and decrease the amount of time spent in a hospital. Slit valve medical catheters also use silicone sleeving to keep bodily fluids from leaking out and germs from going in. These types of sleevings can be formed by dipping the device in a compound of silicone rubber to form a thin layer around the tubing or cast.

Medical stimulation electrodes — devices that transfer ionic currents in the body into electrical currents — use silicone sleeving as well. Defibrillation electrodes are one of these types of stimulation electrodes. Reinforced suture sleeves also use a silicone based sleeve to protect lead bodies. These types of devices have silicone resin injected in the area between lead bodies and each device’s outer tube.

In the scientific and research fields, silicone sleeving is also used for certain devices. Biomedical researchers use silicone sleeves to mechanically induce remodeling of constructs of blood vessels in vitro. Silicone based sleeving is also used as a chamber for conducting chemical reactions. It has properties that help perform chemical reactions, like heating with doped polysilicon and convection cooling with bulk silicon. The sleeve also allows for secondary tubing with a chemical mixture to be inserted to alleviate any potentially harmful or incompatible materials.

Silicone sleeving is also used in the industrial field because of its electrical insulation properties. Industrial products use a type that can be composed of different chemicals in addition to a silicone polymer. One such device is an electronic reproduction magnetic carrier coated with nitrogen-containing silicone resin. This sleeve provides good electrical insulation and physical protection from the environment.

Another type of silicone sleeving is the fire sleeve, which is coated in a silicone polymer and glass fiber woven sheets. The sleeve self-coils around cylindrical objects, like fuel lines or hydraulic lines. Silicone’s heat/flame resistance and insulative properties make it desirable to use as protection from extreme temperatures. These sleeves are useful on a plane’s fuel lines and in environments where fuel/hydraulic lines are subject to extreme environmental temperatures.

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