What is Silicone Made Of?


Silicone or polysiloxane shares many properties with synthetic rubber and plastic. It is a hybrid material between plastic and rubber.

What exactly makes silicone have its unique properties?

Silicone is not available naturally. It is a synthetic material.

Silicone is made of many chemical additives. We get these additives from fossils fuel.

Unlike carbon-based plastic, the building block of silicone is silicon.

I know that now sounds confusing – right?

Silicone Vs. Silicon: Are They The Same

When you ask what silicone is made of, confusion starts by distinguishing silicone from silicon. Of course, there is also silica.

Let’s distinguish these essential elements:


Silica or silicon dioxide is the raw material we use to make silicone resin.

Silicon dioxide occurs naturally as quartz. It forms the significant composition of beach sand.

It is for this reason people say silicone is made of sand.

The truth is – we reduce silica to form silicon. Then you will react silicon with other compounds to produce silicones.

Silicone oxide
Silicone Oxide


Silicon is the primary material for making silica. You will not find silicon occurring naturally.

Using an industrial furnace you will heat a mixture of silica and carbon in an industrial furnace to get silicon.

So, silicone and silicon are not the same.

Additionally, Silicon (Si) is a metalloid. It is the 14th element in the periodic table. A metalloid is a substance with both metal and nonmetal properties.

As I mentioned earlier, silicon is not available naturally in pure form.

Silicone (Siloxane)


First, silicone is a synthetic material made of:

  • Silicon
  • Oxygen
  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen

In the silicone structure, the backbone elements are silicon and oxygen. Then the hydrocarbon forms the side groups.

It is for this reason that silicone has characteristics of plastic material.

You get siloxane monomers when you react with hydrocarbon from fossil fuels. You will bond siloxane monomers forming silicone resin.

Ideally, silicone has both organic and inorganic atoms. It is the C-Si bonds that attach the organic groups to silicon atoms.


In short, silicone is made of silicon, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The bond between these elements gives it unique characteristics suitable for various silicone applications.

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