It may surprise you to learn that, after oxygen, silicone is the second-most prevalent element in the Earth’s crust. Combined with oxygen, it makes silica – that material that we find in tiny bags when we purchase new trainers. It is this silica which is condensed down to make the silicone metal that we use to produce silicone products found on the shelves of supermarkets and manufacturers worldwide.
An Inert Product
Silicone does not react with other elements or compounds – this is otherwise known as inertia in the scientific world – but can be combined with other elements to create different products. It does not biodegrade, which has caused it to come under some scrutiny, but is believed to be a viable alternative to plastic and other petrochemical products for a number of applications, and because of its reusability it is seen as a more environmentally friendly alternative to these products.
Boldly Going Where No Inert Product Has Gone Before
Silicones have been important in aerospace and aviation technologies due to their stability. Able to withstand stresses and chemical interaction, they were seen as the material of choice for keypads, sealants and control diaphragms in space.
The Different Types of Silicone Available
Silicone has many other uses. As a liquid it can be used as lubricant in manufacturing and engineering. Combined with another natural material, rubber, it can be given many other uses, including the production of silicone hoses, which can be found at various silicone hose manufacturers such as https://www.goodflexrubber.com/pages/silicone-hose-manufacture .
Why Are Silicones Used over Other Materials?
There are a number of benefits in using silicone over other materials. For a start, silicones can be produced in many forms. We’ve already mentioned liquid and rubberised forms, but silicones can also be used to make resins and solids which are used in practically any area of manufacturing, from textiles to engineering.
They’re incredibly UV-resistant, making them an ideal choice for products that are exposed to the elements. Sun and heat will not damage a silicone. For this reason we are seeing more and more silicones used in the production of cooking equipment and baking products.
In construction, silicones are used because of their ability to repel water. They are used for waterproof products such as paints and sealants for bathrooms and outdoor applications.