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Fascinating Silicone™ Chemistry Corner – Adhesives

How silicone adhesives work

Jigsaw puzzleWhen a silicone adhesive cures, it becomes mechanically and chemically locked in place, like a puzzle piece.

Mechanical and chemical adhesion

The first requirement of good adhesion is good spreading and wetting. With its low surface tension and slightly higher critical surface tension of wetting, polydimethylsiloxane is a master at spreading, wetting, and leveling. It quickly and completely penetrates into small voids in the surface of the substrate.

By adding reactive adhesion promoters (silanes) to the adhesive, it can be designed to chemically bond with anything from metal and glass to paper, fabric, plastics, and even human skin. This chemical bond further strengthens the mechanical bond.

In pressure sensitive adhesives, tack and cohesive strength are achieved by formulating reactive silicone fluid-resin mixtures. These mixtures contain groups that will react by silanol condensation to form a strong, flexible network.

A silicone adhesive being applied to an electronics device

Silicone adhesive benefits

  • Chemically and thermally stable
  • Resistant to moisture and weathering
  • Suitable tack for quick bonding
  • Ability to conform to skin; acceptable adhesion to skin for extended periods of time; easily removed from skin; able to deliver active ingredients to the skin
  • Easily customized and co-formulated
  • Can be formulated to adhere well to a wide range of surfaces
  • Can be designed to withstand highly acidic or basic chemicals, and organic solvents
  • Biocompatibility

Typical silicone adhesive applications

Learn how other types of silicones work.

Did you know ... silicones not only adhere. They can also release! Learn how silicone release agents work.

Expand your understanding

Easy Reading:
Silicone Pressure Sensitive Adhesives: Opportunities for high-value applications (PDF Size 121 KB)
Silicone hot melt technology makes stronger windows ... FASTER!

Technical articles:
Silicones in the Construction Industry (PDF Size 89 KB)
Silicones in the Electronics Industry (PDF Size 387 KB)
Silicones in Transportation (PDF Size 73 KB)
Silicones in Medical Applications (PDF Size 146 KB)

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