Silicone rubber keypad with domed protection layer applied to each key

When shopping for custom keypads, you may discover that some of them are made of silicone rubber. Silicone rubber has different properties than the hard plastic from which many other keypads made. It’s softer and more elastic, for example. These properties allow for some unique advantages when used in the construction of keypad. So, why are keypads made of silicone rubber exactly?

Protection From Moisture and Liquids

Silicone rubber offers excellent protection from moisture and liquids. All keypads contain at least one circuit. The circuit or circuits are found underneath the keypad’s buttons. If moisture or liquid reaches the circuit or circuits, it may cause permanent damage.

Silicone rubber keypads, however, are naturally protected from such damage. They contain silicone rubber material over and around the circuit. The silicone rubber material acts as a shield by protecting the circuit or circuits from moisture-related damage. Any moisture or liquids that reach a silicone rubber keypad will simply bead off the surface without damaging its circuit or circuits.

Pressure-Based Switching

The use of silicone rubber allows for pressure-based switching. Switching refers to a change of position within a keypad’s circuit. Circuits have an open position and a closed position. When you press a button on a keypad, the circuit will change from an open position to a closed position.

Silicone rubber keypads can change the position of their circuits automatically using pressure. When you press a button, you’ll apply pressure to that button. The silicone rubber webbing will then deform under this pressure so that the top contact touches the bottom contact. Exposure between these two contacts will complete the circuit. Releasing your finger from the button, on the other hand, will cause the silicone rubber webbing to return to its original shape and position, thus pulling the top contact away from the bottom contact.

Produces Tactile Feedback

Another reason keypads are made of silicone rubber is for tactile feedback. Tactile feedback is a physical sensation that’s created in response to a command, such as the pressing of a button. It provides confirmation to the respective user that his or her command was registered.

Silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback when you press and release a button. The button is surrounding by silicone rubber webbing. This soft and elastic polymer wraps around the circuit. When you press the button, the silicone rubber webbing will deform. You’ll feel it deform, and you’ll feel it spring back up upon releasing your finger from the button.