Q:

What is silicone made of?

A:

Quick Answer

Silicone is made of a chain of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms with two other atoms or compounds bonded to each silicon atom. Its structure is somewhat similar to a hydrocarbon chain, in part because of silicon being part of the same periodic group. However, bonds between silicon atoms, unlike bonds between carbon atoms, are unstable. Silicone, on the other hand, is very stable and resists both heat and chemicals.

Know More
What is silicone made of?
Credit: Maria Toutoudaki Photodisc Getty Images

Full Answer

Silicone has a wide array of uses in both households and in industry because of its flexibility and ability to withstand both caustic chemicals and heat as well as being highly resistant to water. Silicone is a general term for a wide array of different compounds, but all share the alternating silicon and oxygen chains. However, silicone rubbers aren't the only place this structure is found, as it is also a common feature in many minerals. Silicone is used in solid applications as well as in liquid ones such as oils and grease. Such liquids neither break down at high heat nor become viscous, according to the University of California, Davis.

The chemically inert nature of silicone makes it appropriate for use in many medical applications, including implanted devices. Silicone is so heat resistant that it can be sterilized using heat without harm.

Learn more about Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between silicone and latex?

    A:

    There are several distinct differences between silicone and latex rubbers, the primary difference being that latex is a natural product and silicone is man-made. Consumers may choose between silicone and latex versions of several plastic products, including pacifiers, caulking and rubber bands.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is silicon dioxide?

    A:

    Silicon dioxide, or silica, is a chemical compound that is the main component of sand, glass and quartz. By processing sand at high temperatures, glass is formed. Sand, and therefore glass, may also contain other minerals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How was silicon named?

    A:

    Chemicool states that silicon was named by Scottish chemist Thomas Thomson in 1831. Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius produced a sample of amorphous silicon and purified the substance, naming it silicium, from "silicis," which means "flint." When Thomson named silicon, he retained part of the name given by Berzelius.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is silicon dangerous?

    A:

    Although elemental silicon is inert and not inherently dangerous, certain processed forms of the element can cause negative health effects. Crystalline silicon irritates the eyes and causes skin inflammation on contact, while inhalation of the substance aggravates the mucous membranes of the respiratory system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore