Silicones in Everyday Life
Products made with silicone protect and improve our quality of life. In everything from aviation to textiles, they enhance existing materials and make new ones possible.
Aviation and Aerospace
Because silicones can withstand astonishing stress and temperature extremes, they are used in many aspects of aircraft and spacecraft assembly and maintenance.Adhesives and sealants are used to seal and protect the following from the elements: doors, windows, wings, fuel tanks, hydraulic switches, overhead bins, wing edges, leading gear electrical devices, vent ducts, engine gaskets, electrical wires and black boxes.
In building and construction, silicone sealants, adhesives and coatings make construction materials work better and last longer. Silicone adhesives bond diverse materials such as concrete, glass, granite, steel and plastics. This enables innovative architecture and engineering, such as dramatic glass facades or curved and suspended structures. Sealants ensure materials stay affixed and absorb stress and movement from wind or earthquakes. Sealants and coatings also protect joints and materials from moisture, heat, corrosion, sunlight, ultraviolet radiation, pollution and other chemicals.
Silicones have played an integral role in advancements in computer technology, telecommunications and micro- and macro-electronics and electrical power distribution.
Silicones seal, bond and encapsulate everything from highly sensitive circuits and microprocessors to semiconductors. They help electronic components remain protected from extreme heat, moisture, salt, corrosion, contamination and movement in computers, appliances, cars and airplanes. Because of silicones’ protective properties, many technological and electronic innovations in electronic devices, components, assemblies and systems are possible.
Keypads, keyboards and copier rollers are made with silicones—as are hardcoating housings for computers, facsimile machines, telephones and home entertainment equipment.
Medical applications and infant care products made with silicones satisfy the highest quality standards demanded by health care professionals, patients and families. Resistant to bacteria, silicones are easy to sterilize. They do not react with other materials and do not irritate the body. Used externally, internally, or intravenously, silicone materials do not generate unwelcome byproducts or trigger allergic reactions.
Silicones soften and smooth topical medications so they can be applied without leaving a greasy residue, and they can help form a seal that protects wounds during the healing process.
Silicone tubing in some medical devices—such as drug delivery systems or heart pacemakers—helps reduce the risk of infection. Silicone-enhanced lubricants ease the insertion of needles and devices.
Silicones can most closely approximate the consistency of skin and offer exceptional cushion and comfort in prosthetics.
Bakeware and cookware are more sturdy, convenient, easy to use and long-lasting when made with silicone rubber. The flexible, non-stick surface is easy to clean and does not impart any flavor or odor to the food. Cake pans, muffin molds, and baking mats can go from the freezer to the oven, microwave or dishwasher without affecting the quality of the product or the food.
Silicones are ideal ingredients of household polishes and cleaners for floors and countertops. They enhance shine, spread easily and do not chemically react with surface materials.
Silicones in fabric softeners help preserve "newness" because of their softening properties. Silicones' elasticity helps smooth out wrinkles. As anti-foaming agents in laundry detergents, silicones ensure foam control during a wash cycle.
Paints and Coatings
Advances in silicone technology enable today's exterior paints and coatings to last longer and stand up to sun, salt, pollution and age better than ever. Paints made with silicones offer exceptional adhesion, pigment dispersion and chemical, weather and stain resistance. Newer silicone-enhanced paints keep the exterior coatings of houses, bridges and rail-way cars flexible so they withstand freeze and thaw cycles without cracking, chalking, peeling or blistering. Coatings on highway, oil-rig and road surfaces are less likely to corrode from oils, gasoline, salt spray and acid rain
Paper and Film
In pulp and paper processing, silicones' outstanding foam control enables easier manufacturing of large quantities of material. Silicones also have a large market as paper release agents by helping labels and stickers peel off backing paper and are used in sticky notes. Other silicones are adhesives, including pressure sensitive adhesives. Silicone adhesives also are resistant to humidity and temperatures, so they are good for uses where there might be environmental extremes, like tapes that need to adhere to outside surfaces or in the hot engine compartment of a car.
Personal Care Products
Versatile, gentle silicones create many of the positive qualities we associate with personal care products—luxuriant texture, silky smoothness, luster and smooth applications.
Silicones help make personal care products non-stinging and non-irritating. For example, silicones reduce the white residue and tacky feel of antiperspirants in deodorants.
With silicones, "long-lasting" make-up retains its color and luster, shampoos and conditioners have better shine and products can be made with stronger SPF. Wetting and spreading qualities provide for smooth and even application of make-up, lotions, sunscreens and cleansers.
Silicones help restore historical buildings and landmarks without compromising the appearance or integrity of the original material. Sealants and adhesives reinforce the natural strength and “weatherability” of the joints and structures. They add water repellency and "breathability" to natural materials such as porous sandstone and porous limestone. And, silicone coatings can be applied uniformly so they do not stain or streak.
Sealants and Adhesives
Silicones are ideal for affixing materials and are used in expansion, construction, connection and movement joints. Materials are held in place and the joints absorb the natural shifting and movement from fluctuations in temperature, humidity and other environmental effects.
In the home, silicone rubber sealants in kitchens and bathrooms prevent damage from moisture and bacteria build-up.
Silicone adhesives used in structural glazing protect the long-term quality and appearance of a façade. Whether manufactured with the material or applied to the finished surface, commercial and industrial structures withstand exposure to the elements. Glazing also insulates and protects glass panels in cars or façades from UV radiation.
Textiles and Leather
Silicones have revolutionized fabrics of all kinds. As finishes, they help fabrics retain shape, texture and resistance to abrasion. They are used to help achieve uniformity and brilliance of color. They help make leather shoes and raingear waterproof. And they 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”.
Silicone is an odorless, colorless, non-oily cleaning agent that is used in dry cleaning to carry detergent to clothes and rinse away suspended dirt and oils trapped by the detergent. It does not interact with textiles, and therefore helps maintain the quality and color of dry-cleaned clothes. Silicones used in home fabric softeners help preserve textiles because of their softening properties. And, silicones' elasticity also helps smooth wrinkles.
Silicones deliver the strength, adhesion and durability needed in high-performance automobiles, ocean vessels, planes and spacecraft.
Silicone adhesives and coatings extend the service life of cars, boats and planes. Exteriors are more resistant to rain, wind, salt, abrasion, ultraviolet radiation and chemicals. Joints last longer and overall maintenance and repair is less costly.
Silicones are used a wide range of car parts including: airbags, engine gaskets, headlamps, hydraulic bearings, ignition cables, radiator seals and hoses, shock absorbers, spark plug boots and ventilation flaps.
Silicones help provide cushioning, providing load bearing and protective shock absorption qualities to car seats, dashboards and automotive interiors.
Silicone release coatings are also used as release agents to allow tire manufacturers to get the tires out of their manufacturing molds and silicone rubber is used in many tires to provide long wear life and superior traction.