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Fascinating Silicone™ Chemistry Corner – Chlorosilane Synthesis

How chlorosilanes are synthesized

Chlorosilanes are synthesized in a fluid bed reactor at temperatures ranging from 250 to 300°C (482 to 572°F) and at pressures of 1 to 5 bars.

The methyl chloride (CH3Cl) flows through a fluidized bed of silicon metal powder.

The reaction, which is catalyzed by a copper-based catalyst, generates a complex mix of methyl chlorosilanes:

Formula for the chlorosilanes synthesis reaction

The methyl chlorosilane mix contains:

  • A large amount of dimethyldichlorosilane (Me2SiCl2) – the primary building block
  • A moderate amount of methyltrichlorosilane (MeSiCl3)
  • Some trimethylchlorosilane (Me3SiCl)
  • A small amount of methyldichlorosilane (MeHSiCl2)
  • Plus smaller amounts of other silanes

The chlorosilanes are then separated from one another through the process of distillation.

 

Did you know ... methyl chlorosilanes form the basis for all silicone chemistry! Learn more about silicone chemistry
building blocks
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