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Silicone Manufacturing

 

The silicone manufacturing process sounds simple. Take silicon, methyl chloride, and a dash of catalyst. Heat. Add water. And out pops an infinite assortment of silicone fluids, elastomers, gels, and resins. 

 

Did you know ... silicon, the basic raw material for silicone production, comes from ordinary quartz sand. About 26% of the earth’s crust is naturally occurring silicon. In
comparison, less than 1%
is carbon!

 

Silicone Manufacturing


How is silicone manufactured


Child building a sand castle

The silicone manufacturing process sounds simple. Take silicon, methyl chloride, and a dash of catalyst. Heat. Add water. And out pops an infinite assortment of silicone fluids, elastomers, gels, and resins.

Click the ! icons to explore the silicone manufacturing process.


What makes the silicone manufacturing process sustainable

  1. It uses readily available materials – quartz sand (silica) and methanol.
  2. The process is continuous and self-contained. The copper catalyst is not consumed in the process (simply replenished from time to time); the hydrochloric acid is recycled at close to 100% efficiency.
  3. Only useful products emerge from the cycle.

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Learn more about the relationship between silicones and sustainability.


Did you know ... silicones cost more than organic (carbon-based) materials because high levels of energy are required to reduce sand to silicon and to separate the silane intermediates. But, in the long run, silicones can actually
save energy (and money). Silicones make buildings and manufacturing
processes more energy efficient. They make many materials and products
last longer.And they can reduce waste. Learn about
the many cost-saving advantages of silicones.

Expand your understanding

Learn about:
Silicone building blocks

Read a technical paper:
Silicone Chemistry Overview  (PDF Size 210KB)

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Did you know ... the silicone industry was “born” in the 1940s when Dr. J. Frankin Hyde demonstrated the commercial value of these amazing materials and Dr. Eugene Rochow discovered the direct method for synthesizing them on an industrial scale! Learn about silicone’s proven history of innovation.

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