Wacker Group is the leading light in the world of silicones with a history going back to 1903. Engineers across the globe will forever be grateful that the company introduced its wide range of silicones which it began manufacturing in 1947. As with so many leading products in the world of engineering, you will come across Wacker silicones every day of your life but you will never realise. The ability to protect, operate in extreme conditions and extend the life of any material or product is a godsend to many engineers around the world. So, what are Wacker silicones and where would you come across them?
What are silicones?
The Muller-Rochow process is central to the creation of silicones and can be traced back to the mid-1900s. The process simply allows methylchlorosilane to be extracted from silicone and methyl chloride. This is the basic building block from which Wacker silicones have been created encouraging the manufacture of organochlorosilanes and silicon products. The focal point of any silicone is the Si-O bond which offers greater stability compared to the likes of the C-C bond for organic compounds. This bond can be manipulated in so many different ways by adding different compounds to the mix.
The Wacker Group continues to build on this historic breakthrough and now leads the sector.
Wacker silicones in everyday life
In all honesty it is difficult to think of a sector which has not been impacted by Wacker silicones. These silicones appear everywhere from the engine seals under your bonnet to water repellent masonry paint. Engineers have incorporated Wacker silicones into environments which require protection against moisture, high resistance products, cutting-edge utensils and an array of medical equipment such as wound dressings. It can be difficult to imagine how one material could have such an impact across an array of different sectors.
Characteristics of Wacker silicones
Due to the nature of the ingredients used in Wacker silicones many areas can be manipulated and shaped for specific environments and requirements. We have listed a number of Wacker silicone characteristics below to give you an idea of what is on offer:-
These silicones can withstand temperatures of anywhere up to 300°C making them extremely useful for products such as car exhausts, protective clothing and the everyday clothes iron.
Flexibility under extreme temperatures
If you look at the array of products which are stored/operate in harsh environments such as freezers you might wonder how they are able to remain flexible under these extreme temperatures. This is because of Wacker silicones which maintain their flexibility even at temperatures as low as -100°C.
Soft touch products
If we told you there were Wacker silicones present in soft touch products such as teddy bears, tissues and dressing gowns, would you be surprised? It is the ability to change the make-up of silicones which makes them perfect for flexible as well as soft touch products.
Softness and flexibility
Above we touched on the ability of silicones to operating in extreme environments – well they can also be manipulated to remain flexible at all times. This makes this particular product perfect for items such as diving masks and exhaust pipe suspension systems to name but two. The ability to remain flexible yet highly heat resistant has proven extremely useful for many engineers.
Silicones are very common in liquid form in areas such as fabrics and textiles, foam reduction during the washing process as well as pulp and paper manufacturing. It may be difficult to imagine a world without Wacker silicones because we would see some dramatic changes to our everyday life.
Whether manufacturing insulating bricks, car polish or products which need to remain clean on the surface to avoid electronic complications, Wacker silicones are all evident in various forms. The protective characteristics of this range of silicones significantly extend the life of an array of different products.
When we say these silicones are extremely durable, due to UV-light, ozone, radiation, chemical and microbial resistance, you might begin to get the overall picture. However, it is the ability to manipulate the make-up of this compound which changes the characteristics to match a particular requirement or environment which is vital.
As we touched on above, it is difficult to highlight all of the areas which make use of silicones because quite frankly the list continues to grow on a regular basis. Whether looking at items so diverse as adhesive products, medical dressings or even simple ventilation masks (which need to fit snugly without being uncomfortable), Wacker silicones are all present.