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Fascinating Silicone™ Chemistry Corner – Commercial Benefits

Commercial benefits of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)


Physical or Chemical PropertyFeaturesCommercial Benefits
Low liquid surface tensionWets many substrates; capable of forming monomolecular thin filmsEasily coats surfaces; requires little physical effort to apply; effective at low use levels
Low surface tension combined with incompatibility with organicsEasily forms films on organic materialsLubricates very sticky materials
Critical surface tension of wetting that is higher than its liquid surface tensionSpreading and creep behavior; will spread over its own adsorbed film; self-levelingEasy to achieve complete surface coverage; capable of "replenishing" itself when physically disturbed
A high-energy (polar) backbone that is capable of presenting its low-surface energy (non-polar) methyl groups at interfacesAffinity for a wide range of substratesMany potential surface and interface applications
Low surface tension combined with the presence of non-polar methyl groupsNot water soluble; creates water-repellent/hydrophobic filmsBeads water on substrates; replaces water
Low-temperature pour pointsPourable at temperatures well below -18°C (0°F)Does not pose freeze-thaw cycle problems; continues to perform at very low temperatures for a very long time without loss of function
Low viscosity-temperature coefficientViscosity changes very little with temperatureAll-temperature performance
High bond strength of the siloxane backbone combined with "inert" functional groups (CH3)Very stable; resists degradationLasts longer, performs better than many other materials under challenging environmental, processing, and operating conditions
High-temperature flash pointsDoes not easily igniteLess hazardous to use and store than many organic materials
High refractive index (RI)Allows light to pass through the fluid film and bounce back without change in directionThin films produce high gloss and depth of gloss
Not oxidized by free radicalsDoes not become rancidDoes not produce rancid odors
Does not support bacterial growthBacteria will not "eat" PDMSPreservatives are generally not required
Essentially biologically inertNon-irritatingAppropriate for use in personal care applications
Did you know ... without the controlled thinning of cell walls made possible by silicone surfactants, high-quality polyurethane foams would not be possible! Learn how silicones stabilize foam.

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Silicone vs. organics
Typical performance properties
Surface & interface applications
Silicone rheology

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