Step-by-step Silicone Manufacturing Process

Step-by-step Silicone Manufacturing Process

Silicone manufacturing process involves a number of chemical reactions and processes. Through polymerization and hydrolysis, you can get any grade of silicone material.

In this guide, you will learn all critical steps in silicone manufacturing:

Step 1: Source For Quality Raw Material

Metallurgical gravel or quartz is the primary raw material for making silicone. In most cases, 99.5% of the raw material is silica.

Quartz silicone raw material

Quartz Silicone Raw Material

Through various processes, you can transform the raw material to:

  1. Silanes
  2. Fluids
  3. Rubbers
  4. Liquid rubbers
  5. Resins

Step 2: Blend Gravel Or Quartz With Carbon Source Then Heat

The gravel or quartz is silica or silicon dioxide. Blend the silica with carbon then heat in a furnace at a temperature of about 1800˚C.

At high temperature, carbon will react with silicon dioxide. As result, carbon will remove oxygen from silicon dioxide.

Get Silicon from solocone dioxide

Get Silicon From Silicon Dioxide

We refer to this as a reduction process.

By the end of this process, you will have silicon and carbon monoxide. You can have the silicon either in powder or liquid form ready for the next process.

On average, it can take about 6 hours to extract silicon. It will depend on the efficiency of the electric furnace and the quantity of raw materials.

Step 3: Making Silicone From Silicon

Again, you will blend methyl chloride with silicon power in the right proportion.

Heating this mixture triggers a chain reaction producing methyl chlorosilane. The main compound in methyl chlorosilane is dimethyldichlorosilane. It is a critical component of silicone.

Step 4: Getting Silicone From Dimethyldichlorosilane

You will subject the mixture to an accurate distillation process. Through distillation, you will separate various compounds of chlorosilanes. Next, you will add water to the mixture. As a result, you will get two products:

  • Disilanol
  • Hydrochloric acid

Disilanol will condense forming polydimethylsiloxane. At this stage, hydrochloric acid will act as a catalyst for the process. The process of forming polydimethylsiloxane is hydrolysis.

dichlorodimethylsilane hydrolysis

Dichlorodimethylsilane Hydrolysis

At this stage, you will get the polydimethylsiloxane. It is silicone’s backbone due to existence of siloxane bond.

Finally, you will subject silicone to a polymerization process. You can adopt any technique depending on the grade and type of properties you want.

Remember, silicone is commercially available in different forms such as silicone resin, silicone grease and silicone rubber, just to mention a few.

It does not matter whether you wish to consider:

  • Liquid silicone rubber manufacturing process
  • Monocrystalline silicon manufacturing process
  • Polycrystalline silicon manufacturing process

Remember, silicone production process results in a versatile material with both plastic and rubber properties.  When it comes to the silicone production process, the stages remain virtually the same as those discussed above.

However, by making certain adjustments to the above process, you will get different products such as:

Type of Silicone Key Properties/Features
Room temperature vulcanized silicones (RVT)
  • Available as RVT-1 and RVT-2
  • It has a stabilizing agent helping in the curing process on exposure to environmental air. Therefore, during these silicones making process, you must add special stabilizing agent
  • They are commonly used as sealants or coating products
  • Additionally, some variations feature platinum as a curing agent
High consistency silicone rubber
  • The polysiloxane chains in the HCR are relatively “heavy”
  • HCR silicones are known for superior heat resistance and hardness due to specially fillers in the silicone molecular structure
  • Again, for curing, they have either platinum or peroxide
Liquid silicone
  • It is a special form of silicone usually referred to as liquid silicone rubber (LSR)
  • Currently, LSR is a perfect material for most medical and food-grade products
Fluorosilicone
  • When manufacturing silicone, you may replace the methyl group with the trifluoropropyl groups.
  • The trifluoropropyl groups improves critical properties such as resistance to mineral spirits, fuel, oil and other organic spirits

 

From here, you can manufacture silicone products using different fabrication or manufacturing techniques. This is due to the many benefits of silicone.

Through extrusion, injection molding, calendering, or compression molding, you can make many silicone products.

Conclusion

With the advancement in technologies, silicone manufacturing process is simple and cost effective. This explain why silicone is a popular material for most industrial and home products.

For all your high quality silicone products, contact Legenday now.

More Resources:

Silicone

Silicon

What Is Silicone Made Of

Silicone Material

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