Silicones are a diverse family of specialty, high-performance materials that includes reactive silanes, silicone fluids and silicone polymers, which are widely used in a variety of consumer and industrial products. These materials provide essential benefits in key segments of our economy, including health care, aerospace, personal care, electronics, transportation and construction.
Silicones impart a number of benefits to the products in which they are used, including enhanced flexibility and moisture, heat, cold and ultraviolet radiation resistance. Silicones can be manufactured in many forms, including solids, liquids, semi-viscous pastes, greases, oils and rubber.
Silicones used in personal care products reduce the white residue and tacky feel of antiperspirants in deodorants. They are also “long-lasting” and help to retain the color and luster associated with cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, as well as impart better shine, and allow skin care products to be made with stronger SPF. Wetting and spreading qualities provide for smooth and even application of cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens and cleansers.
Silicone improves the efficiency, durability and performance of solar panels and photovoltaic devices, making them more cost-effective. Because they can withstand the sun for years, silicones are ideal materials for solar panel and photovoltaic applications.
Keypads, keyboards and copier rollers are made with sturdy, durable silicones – as are many components of computers, mobile electronics and home entertainment equipment. Silicones also play an essential role in enabling LED lighting technology. Silicones high thermal stability and excellent dielectric properties allow for use in a variety of electrical transmission applications.
Because silicones can withstand stress and temperature extremes, silicone adhesives and sealants are used to seal and protect doors, windows, wings, fuel tanks, hydraulic switches, overhead bins, wing edges, landing gear electrical devices, vent ducts, engine gaskets, electrical wires and black boxes.
Silicones are key to construction and renovation of commercial and residential buildings – from enabling glass walled skyscrapers to enabling energy efficient architecture. At home, silicone sealants and caulks are used to reduce energy usage and prevent damage from moisture and bacteria build-up.
The flexible, non-stick surface of silicone bakeware and cookware is easy to clean and does not impart flavor or odor to food. Cake pans, muffin molds, and baking mats can go from the freezer to the oven, microwave or dishwasher without affecting food taste or quality.
Newer silicone-enhanced paints keep the exterior coatings of houses, bridges and railway cars flexible so they withstand freeze and thaw cycles without cracking. Silicone coatings on highway, oil rig and road surfaces are less likely to corrode due to exposure to oils, gasoline, salt spray and acid rain.
Silicones seal out water from goggles and diving masks. Silicones enable new techniques to design sportswear that is lightweight, durable, water repellent and high performing, while allowing the fabric to maintain “breathability.”
Name: Michelle Chen
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