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What is Silicone Resin?

Paul Scott
Paul Scott

Silicone resin is the lesser known of the three main silicone product subgroups which include silicone rubbers and fluids. Silicone resins are complex, heavily branched oligosiloxanes produced by exposing various silicone precursors to a hydrolytic condensation process. The end product is available in the form of flake resins and solvent based or solvent free liquids. Silicone resin is an extremely versatile and safe product which has numerous uses in a wide range of industries where it is used as a binder, sealant, insulation agent, or weatherproofing additive. Silicone resins exhibit excellent electrical insulation, ultraviolet (UV) protection, water repelling, and heat resistant qualities.

Silicones are most commonly associated with the ubiquitous silicone fluid and rubber products widely used as sealants and release agents. Silicone resins are, however, probably one of the most useful of the silicone family of products are used in a host of industrial and domestic applications. Silicone resins are all formulated on a foundation of siloxane compositions which exhibit excellent bonding, heat, and UV resistant and isolative characteristics. These resins are available as solvent based or solvent free liquids or in dry flake form.

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Woman holding a book

Certain silicone resin formulations can withstand temperatures in excess of 1,380 degrees Fahrenheit (750 degrees Celsius) which make them ideal as binding agents in paints used on boilers, cookware, fireplace components, and automotive engine parts. These resins also have outstanding electrical insulation characteristics which make them a good choice for motor winding, coil, and resistor coatings. These insulation properties make silicone resin a standard coating on electronic circuit boards. Glass fiber fabrics coated with silicone resins are also widely used as electrical wire insulation.

The high levels of adhesion and weather resistance found in silicone resins make them a perfect exterior coating additive for a wide range of applications. Silicone resin exhibits very good resistance to ultra-violet light degradation and is a standard binder for high durability paints used as protective coatings on exterior steel structures. Certain grades of the resin are also used as bases for anti-fouling paints used on the hulls of ships. Their excellent water repellent qualities are harnessed in the building industry where they are used as binders for many masonry sealers and exterior coatings. The UV resistant qualities of the resins further enhance these products as they do not become brittle or yellow with protracted exposure to the sun.

If used and stored correctly, silicone resin is a safe product. Even under extreme overheat conditions the resin does not burn, discolor, or release harmful gasses. These resins do, however, require the use of catalysts which call for a degree of care to be exercised when mixing the products. Some of the products are also flammable prior to curing; raw materials should be stored away from fire, direct sunlight, and chemical sources.

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