- What Are Silicones?
- Silicones Uses
- Sustainability & Environment
- Health & Safety
Technically known as "polyorganosiloxanes", silicones are polymeric compounds in which silicon atoms join together with oxygen as chains or networks. The remaining valences of silicon link with organic groups - mainly methyl groups.
Silicones are essentially organically modified quartz, i.e. two oxygen atoms attached to every silicon atom have been replaced by methyl groups. This changes the structure from the three-dimensional backbone of quartz to linear polymer molecules. Silicones therefore are composed of the elements Si, O, C and H. Silicone molecules are usually tangled up in each other. However, the methyl groups are free to rotate about the -Si-O-Si- chain.
In this way silicones unite the durability of quartz and the many qualities of modern plastics.
Other groups can be attached to the silicon-oxygen backbone instead of methyl groups. The linear silicone polymers can be cross-linked to each other to different extents, i.e. covalently via groups of atoms. This explains the various different properties of the corresponding silicones.
A typical Silicone Molecule
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