Self amalgamating tape vs silicone tape comparison - What is the
difference? The simple answer is, the material. Self
amalgamating tape refers to a rubber tape, while silicone is a very
different material and has different characteristics, and often
these different tapes are mistakenly lumped together and all
referred to as self-amalgamating tapes.
Self Amalgamating tape is typically made from EPR rubber, EPDM
rubber, butyl rubber or PIB (polyisobutylene). Silicone Tapes
are made from a silicone elastomer, which although is referred to
as "silicone rubber" contains no actual rubber. When
"amalgamating" is used as a description to mean "uniting as one"
then of course you could call either rubber or silicone tapes
"amalgamating" tapes. But the industry term for amalgamating
specifically refers to rubber amalgamating tapes, and not silicone
Rubber self amalgamating tape is usually heat resistant to
130C, while silicone tape is heat resistant to 260C. Silicone
tape also has a greater resistance in cold; while rubber tapes
become inflexible and even brittle at cold temperatures, silicone
tape is flexible to -60C with a cold brittle point of -65C.
Silicone tape also has a greater elasticity and greater
elastic memory than rubber tape. Silicone tape also has a
much higher tensile strength, typically 450PSI to 950PSI compared
to the 150psi to 300PSI tensile strength of self amalgamating
rubber tape. Silicone also has the advantage of being easier
to color, so it is more common to find silicone tape offered in a
wide variety of colors compared to only black and white rubber
tapes. Finally, the most significant advantage of silicone
tape is the fusibility, or the bond strength. The high
quality brands of silicone tape fuse together in just minutes or
seconds, while the lower quality silicone tape fuses in about 24
hours which matches the performance of rubber amalgamating tape.
So which should you use? Self amalgmating rubber tape or
silicone tape? That depends on your application. For
underground or automotive use, self amalgamating tape is ideal and
cost effective, but is not as suitable for hose and pipe leak
repair. Silicone tape, however, performs much better as a
leak repair tape, with greater strength and fusion with the higher
quality brands. Of course there is a difference in price
between silicone and rubber tapes, and also a significant
difference between brands as well. But overall, you pay for
what you get.