How silicones are polymerized &
This is the “design center” of silicone manufacturing. It is where silicone
scientists engineer an infinite array of problem-solving and
innovation-enabling silicone materials.
Did you know ... organic modification of the silicone
molecule enables the production of silicones that behave in seemingly
“unsilicone” ways! Learn about organically
Polymerization is the process of linking smaller molecular building blocks
to create true silicone polymers – molecules with many repeating units.
Silicone polymers can be made reactive or non-reactive. They can also
be given an array of organic or inorganic functionalities.
A process called “end blocking” is used to control chain length,
molecular weight, and viscosity.
Because the end-blocker is non-reactive, it prevents further polymerization
from occurring. Most silicone polymer chain ends are terminated with
Silicone polymers can be combined with other ingredients, like fillers,
crosslinkers, catalysts, and pigments to make a wide variety of non-curing
(fluids, greases, compounds) and curing (elastomers, resins, gels)
Finishing is the process of delivering silicone performance in easy-to-use
forms that meet specific manufacturing process, application, or performance
Silicone finishing processes
Emulsification – creating stable silicone fluid and water blends;
emulsifying simplifies the formulation process and reduces volatile organic
compound (VOC) content.
Solvent dispersion – dispersing or diluting silicone polymers or
resins in various solvents; the solvent is used to control evaporation rate and
achieve compatibility with other formulation ingredients.
Compounding – incorporating fillers (such as silica) and/or
additives (such as plasticizers or fire retardants); compounding overcomes
dispersion difficulties and helps control flow rate and film thickness; fillers
can also provide reinforcement and extend performance time.
Blending – mixing different forms or viscosities of silicones
together or mixing them with other materials; blending creates materials with
unique properties and performance characteristics.
The result – the world’s most adaptable and
Through polymerization and finishing, silicone producers create materials
Are capable of reacting with other materials
Are compatible with specific processes and substrates
Give formulators and manufacturers a virtually unlimited range of material
forms and performance capabilities
Investigate the types
and uses, structure and properties of different forms of silicone.