You have probably heard of silicone being used in almost every facet of life, from health products, through cooking, to electrical insulation, electronics, and more.
Have you ever wondered though, where silicone originally came from and why it is so extensively used?
It was in 1823 when a Swedish chemist, Jöns Jacob Berzelius successfully isolated the metalloid silicon in this laboratory.
He then heated it to produce silicon tetrachloride, which, many centuries and innovations later, took up the proper form of silicon elastomer coatings.
But what exactly are these coatings? How do they look and feel? Are they truly as useful as they are claimed to be?
Let’s find out.
What are Silicone Elastomer Coatings?
In a purely scientific way, silicone elastomers can be defined as silicone-based polymers that have been vulcanized to produce a rubbery effect. It is no wonder then that this material is also known as silicone rubber.
Owing to its elasticity and high tear-strength, silicone elastomer coatings gradually found their use in almost every industry.
The first silicone manufactured back in the early 1940s, however, was a sticky and messy substance that almost looked like a paste. Back then, it was majorly used in war aircraft to prevent sparks.
Fast forward to the 21st century, where silicones are now treated with various agents and minerals that act as fillers to give them the desired elasticity.
What Makes These Coatings Easy to Use…
So, they are made of vulcanized silicone. Why does that make the elastomer coatings so sought after?
One of the primary reasons silicone elastomer coatings are so versatile is because they can withstand high temperatures.
Further, they are extremely flexible even at lower temperatures. Now you know why many of your cooking utensils are made of food-grade silicone elastomers.
Apart from these characteristics, another feature that makes it so useful in multiple applications is its ability to remain solvent-free even after all the chemical processing.
This means, no matter what purpose you use it for, it does not render any special smell, taste, or color into the finished product.
Is Silicone Better Than Teflon?
Well, it depends on the situation. While both are non-stick coatings and extensively used in major industrial purposes, their characteristics make them unique.
However, in situations where a better release is required, silicone elastomer coatings are preferred over Teflon coatings.
On the other hand, if the scenario calls for a tougher coating, then manufacturers typically go with a Teflon coating. This is because physically, silicone rubber coatings are softer than Teflon coatings.
Further, at higher temperatures (above 500 F), the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) present in Teflon begins to degrade causing minor health issues. Silicone, on the other hand, is more resistant to high-heat and is often considered the “green” alternative to Teflon.
If you thought that the non-stick property of silicone elastomers makes them most useful in the food industry, here is news for you. While their high release makes them suitable for cooking utensils as well as freezer spouts, their applications are countless in many other industries, too.
Medical equipment is one area where silicone coatings are extensively used. Think pacemakers and other permanent implants. They have also been used to protect spacecraft from harmful deposits.
Last but not least, your daily use devices such as your laptops and smartphones also are well-protected thanks to the circuits being coated with silicone elastomer.
Overall, when an industry has access to the best quality silicone resin coatings, its practical applications become limitless.
If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help your industry, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.