Silicone rubber keypads have become a popular alternative to plastic keypads. Also known as elastomeric keypads, they feature a silicone rubber construction. All keypads are designed to control one or more circuits. Each key on a keypad will open or close an underlying circuit when pressed. While some keypads are made of plastic, though, others are made of silicone rubber keypads.
Silicone Rubber Webbing
Silicone rubber keypads feature silicone rubber webbing. Webbing is the material that separates the keys from their underlying circuits. When you press a key, the webbing will deform. The key’s contact will then touch the underling circuit’s contact, thus completing the circuit. One of the ways in which silicone rubber keypads differ from plastic is their webbing. Silicone rubber keypads feature webbing made of silicone rubber.
Most people will agree that silicone rubber keypads feel softer than plastic keypads. Silicone rubber is a rubber-like polymer. It contains a mixture of silicone carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Chemical composition aside, it has a softer texture than plastic. Plastic is somewhat hard and rigid, whereas silicone rubber is soft and elastic. If you’re looking for a soft keypad that’s comfortable to use, you may want to go with silicone rubber.
In addition to being softer than plastic keypads, silicone rubber keypads are also quieter. They produce less noise than their plastic counterparts. Pressing a key will typically result in at least some noise. You’ll hear the key move as it completes the circuit. But silicone rubber keypads are typically quieter than plastic keypads. All silicone rubber keypads have silicone rubber webbing, which is naturally soft. The soft properties of silicone rubber webbing allow for quiet deformations.
Both silicone rubber keypads and plastic keypads are long-lasting. You can use them in consumer or commercial applications, and you can even use them outdoors. Silicone rubber keypads, though, may last a little longer than plastic keypads. This is because they offer a sealed environment. Neither water nor any other contaminants will penetrate past the silicone rubber shell.
You can rest assured knowing that both silicone rubber keypads and plastic keypads are customizable. If you want backlighting, for instance, you can choose light-emitting diode (LED) or electroluminescent (EL) backlighting. Whether it uses silicone rubber or plastic, most keypads support backlighting. And you can even add light guides to your keypad. Light guides will distribute the light produced by the backlighting to protect against light and dark spots.