We can understand silicon’s history by looking at its critical years of development. The activities during these years shaped the need for silicone in numerous industries.
Here is a look at these key milestones.
The 19th Century
This century is what you can term the Stone Age period. The early stages of development of the use of silica.
Silica used during this period was in making basic tools for use, like glassware.
Perhaps the significant period of this timeline is in 1823. During this time, Jons Jackob Berzelius, a Swedish chemist, successfully isolated silicon.
The process of isolation involved reacting potassium silicofluoride and metallic potassium. Another milestone involved combusting silicon in chlorine resulting in silicon tetrachloride.
Silicon tetrachloride is still in use today in the production of silicones.
1854 was another great year in Silicone history as Henry Sainte- Claire invented crystal silicon through a series of chemical reactions.
The 20th Century
Englishman Frederich Stanley Kipping continued with this development in the 20th century.
This was in 1940 when he introduced the use of the name silicones due to the sticky nature of the material.
E.G Rochow and R. Muller devised an alternative method for synthesizing silicone.
This method was advantageous since you could use it on industrial-scale production.
Dr. J. Franklin Hyde, the owner of the corning glass industry, developed the first industrial silicone product.
This product, silicone resin, is used in coating glass cloth and impregnating, which is common in electrical insulation.
1949 saw James Wright develop silly putty to act as an alternative to the use of rubber. This was done by mixing silicone oil and boric acid.
Commercialization of silly putty grew over time to become a sought-after material in the toy industry.
Launching the silicone leather treatment in the 1950s led to the industrial manufacturing of boots.
It is these boots that astronaut Neil Armstrong used on the famous trip to the moon in 1969.
1970 saw the development of liquid silicone rubber and silicone adhesive tape. This enhanced the growing need for silicone in various industries.
Technological advancement in the 1980s increased the use of silicone in microprocessors. Silicone helps in preventing product exposure to overheating.
The latest advancement of the 20th century was in 1990 when silicone hydrogel was used to produce contact lenses.
The 21st century
Silicone use continues to evolve as various industries develop the need for it. You will find silicone in various products for different purposes.
These products include phones, microprocessors, cooking utensils, and photovoltaic panels.
Since silicone was invented, it has revolutionized rubber and plastic fabrication industry. It has proved to be a versatile material suitable for many industries.
In fact, even the medical industry has benefited a lot from rubber material.
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