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An introduction to silicone

You might not realise it, but silicone is used in a vast range of everyday products, including cooking tools, car windshields and hair conditioners, as well as industrial components. Silicone is extremely versatile, enabling it to take many different forms: from soft and flexible items through to sturdier products.

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The structure of silicone

This type of plastic is actually a polymer, but it still shares many of the properties of a typical plastic. The uniqueness of silicone is the fact that it has a different type of molecular structure to other polymers. A typical polymer is built mainly from carbon, whereas silicone largely uses silicon atoms, which are the same as those used in glass manufacturing. This manufacturing process means that silicone, including those used by silicone hose manufacturers, has advantages typical of both plastic and glass; making it useful in a wide range of applications. For instance, it is resistant to moisture and can withstand extremes of temperature in the same way as glass, as well as not reacting to most other materials. However, it is also strong and lightweight like plastic and can take on many different forms.

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Uses of silicone

Due to its unique properties, silicone is used to manufacture a large number of products across a range of industries. It is commonly found as a flexible plastic or a liquid.

Silicone is found in many medical implements, including catheters, bandages and implants and is also present in many everyday health and beauty products, such as shaving cream and shampoo.

The water and high heat resistance of silicone make it useful in industrial settings as well and it is often used to create a watertight seal, in the manufacture of plumbing pipes and by companies such as Goodflex Rubber silicone hose manufacturers.

This resistance to high temperatures makes silicone suitable for kitchenware (for example pan handles and tongs) and its non-stick benefits make it ideal for coating pans. These properties are utilised by the automotive industry to lubricate car parts.

As well as this extreme versatility, silicone has some crucial environmental benefits. It can be used in the manufacture of solar cells and to bond wind turbine blades and its insulation benefits are useful for enhancing the energy efficiency of homes. Combined with the practical and innovative uses of silicone, these make it one of the most important modern materials.

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