Construction, cosmetics, medicine, these are just some of the industries where silicones are used. This remarkable polymer has achieved immense popularity due to a number of its properties. In this article, we present the characteristics of silicone.
What are sillicones ?
Silicones belong to the group of organosilicon polymers. They have the structure of siloxanes, which are characterized by silicon atoms that connect to alkyl (in this case usually ethyl or methyl) or aryl (most often phenolic) groups.
The silicone industry is growing rapidly in many markets and the progress made over the last twenty years to improve production processes is significant. In particular, this industry has moved towards technologies that allow energy savings and recycling of by-products.
The synthesis processes are now reliable and generate polydimethylsiloxanes (PDMS) without catalytic residues. Silicones also contribute to sustainable development by improving the energy consumption of the applications in which these materials are used (durability, lightness, fouling-free coatings, etc.).
What are the properties and uses of silicones ?
Silicones are characterized by high chemical and thermal resistance, good electrical insulation, non-flammability, resistance to ultraviolet radiation and very good lubricity. These properties allow them to be used in the production of oils and greases, silicone rubbers, sealing and bonding materials and lacquers.
It is also widely used in medicine, such as in the production of implants, catheters and silicone hydrogel lenses. It is often found in the cosmetic industry. It can act as a form of hair protection and shine in shampoos or conditioners as well as a supplement to foundations.
Of course, silicone is known for its durability and ease of production, which is why it is also used in textiles and in many branches of the construction industry.
What is the role of pressure sensitive adhesives ?
Pressure sensitive adhesives are simply pressure sensitive adhesive materials. They are usually delivered on one- or two-sided substrates and in a variety of more or less flexible materials (plastic, metal, fabric, paper). These materials directly bond two surfaces by pressure without the use of additional elements such as water, heat or solvents.
As you can see, pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) are made of polymer chains. These are characterized by large molecules made up of several chains called poly. These are small, interdependent, repeating molecules called monomers.
These molecules can be natural or artificial but they are always viscoelastic and sticky according to their formulas. They offer great properties like elasticity and damping. If you have industrial silicone needs in your company we recommend you take a look at what elkem has to offer in this regard. You can visit elkem’s blog post to learn more.
Silicones are now being developed using new synthesis processes validated in the laboratory, which foreshadow part of what the factory of the future will be like.