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Fascinating Silicone™ Applications

Silicones: Making alternative energy practical

Ever-increasing fossil fuel prices and decreasing petroleum reserves are renewing the world’s focus on alternative energy.

The sun shines. The wind blows. And silicones are helping the world capture energy that would otherwise be wasted.

Silicones help solar panels withstand the sun’s unrelenting rays.Every day, the sun provides enough energy to the Earth to meet the world’s electricity needs for a year.

Solar panels can transform light from the sun into energy that can power homes, stadium scoreboards, and manufacturing facilities. The raw material used to produce solar cells is silicon metal. But, because of their ability to stand up under the sun’s unrelenting rays, silicones are used throughout the solar cell manufacturing, module assembly, and installation process as encapsulants, coatings, potting agents, and sealants.

Another important source of renewable energy is wind power.

Silicone adhesives bond the rotor blades on wind turbines.The wind rotates the blades of giant turbines. This generates energy that is then fed into the power grid. Silicone adhesives are used to bond the rotor blades. Silicone is used because it resists not only the elements but also the centrifugal forces applied to the rotor blades. Rotor blades must be durable and reliable and able to provide up to 20 years of service without needing major repairs. Silicone adhesives are capable of maintaining their bond strength under constant thermal cycling and environmental attack for the life of the blade.

Learn about silicones for solar power from Dow Corning.

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