Great question! With the innovation of using silicone for drysuit seals and now DUI ZipSeals, many might think this is the ultimate seal for them. What’s the difference?
The greatest plus for silicone is the impressive resistance to UV and ozone attack. Divers diving DUI Silicone ZipSeals report them to be more comfortable overall and for many provide a dryer seal on the wrist. Silicone is also ideal for people with latex allergies. The downside to silicone is that they can be more prone to tearing and punctures so care should be used when handling. The outside of the seals tend to gather more dirt as well.
The greatest benefit to latex seals is that they are more durable overall. If you do not live in a high UV or ozone climate, latex might be the best option for you.
We’ve highlighted the areas on this list that divers may find the most interesting:
|General Characteristics||Natural Rubber (Latex)||Silicone|
|Durometer Range (Shore) aka hardness||20 – 100||30 - 90|
|Tensile Range||500 - 3500||200 - 1500|
|Elongation (Max %)||700||700|
|Resilience – Rebound||Excellent||Good|
|Abrasion Resistance||Excellent||Fair to Poor|
|Oil Resistance||Poor||Fair to Poor|
|Low Temperature Usage (Fº)||-20º - 60º||-20º - 60º|
|High Temperature Usage (Fº)||to 175º||to 350º|
|Aging Weather – Sunlight||Poor||Excellent|
|Adhesion to Metals||Excellent||Good|
NATURAL RUBBER has many good characteristics. It has high resilience, good compression set, food roll building behavior, and molding properties, very good friction surface, but not a fine smooth surface when ground, high tear strength, low crack growth, usable for ketones and alcohol, and good low temperature properties.
SILICONE RUBBER has a great many variations and can be compounded to meet any number of applications. Silicone can be compounded to have tensile in the area of 1500 psi and tear up to 200 lbs ; low compression set and good resilience, moderate solvent resistance; excellent heat resistance; good release characteristics; extreme low temperature properties; and can be highly resistant to oxidation and ozone attack.
*Information is provided by The Rubber Group / General Characteristics of Common Polymers