Not all keypads are made of hard plastic. Keypads, of course, are switching solutions. They feature one or more keys that are used to control a circuit. While some keypads are, in fact, made of hard plastic, others are made of silicone rubber.
Also known as elastomeric keypads, silicone rubber keypads live up to their namesake by featuring a silicone rubber construction. They aren’t made entirely of silicone rubber. Rather, they typically have a printed circuit board (PCB) that’s covered by a molded layer of silicone rubber.
The molded layer of silicone features the key or keys. By default, it’s separated from the PCB. Pressing a key will result in the silicone rubber layer pushing down and touching the PCB, which will then open or close the circuit.
How Silicone Rubber Keypads Resistant Shocks
Silicone rubber keypads are naturally resistant to shocks. They can typically withstand moderate shocks without sustaining damage. The shock-resistant properties of silicone rubber keypads make them a popular choice for commercial applications.
How do silicone rubber keypads resistant shocks exactly? While available in different types, they all feature silicone rubber in their construction. Silicone rubber is a type of synthetic material that looks and feels like soft rubber. It’s essentially a polymer that contains a combination of silicon, oxygen and carbon. When mixed together, the end result is a soft and elastic material that’s known as silicone rubber.
Silicone rubber can withstand shocks because it’s elastic. Therefore, silicone rubber keypads are naturally resistant to shocks.
Other Benefits of Silicone Rubber Keypads
In addition to their shock-resistant properties, there are other benefits of silicone rubber keypads. They can be used with or without backlighting, for instance. Some silicone rubber keypads feature backlighting to illuminate the keys. Other silicone rubber keypads don’t feature backlighting.
Silicone rubber keypads are moisture resistant as well. Neither moisture nor any other liquids can penetrate through the molded layer of silicone rubber. When exposed to moisture or liquid, the PCB underneath the silicone rubber layer will remain dry.
Silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback. Tactile feedback, in fact, is a natural byproduct of their operation. When you press a key, the webbing material that separates the silicone rubber layer from the PCB will deform. Releasing your finger from the key will then result in the webbing material popping back up to its original position. This means that silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback naturally.