Over the past couple of years, silicone products have become ubiquitous.
Other alternatives to plastics like glass, wood, stainless steel and rubber have been in use for decades and have been tested at length, which is why they have been staples of eco living. Silicone, however, made its debut in the kitchen products relatively recently which means not a lot of testing had been done.
In this article, we’ll go over some characterristics of silicone and silicone product.
What is silicone rubber?
Refer to wikipedia for an introduction, Silicone rubber is an elastomer (rubber-like material) composed of silicone—itself a polymer—containing silicon together with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Silicone rubbers are widely used in industry, and there are multiple formulations. Silicone rubbers are often one- or two-part polymers, and may contain fillers to improve properties or reduce cost.
In its uncured state, silicone rubber is a highly adhesive gel or liquid. To convert it to a solid, it must be cured, vulcanized, or catalyzed. This is normally carried out in a two-stage process at the point of manufacture into the desired shape, and then in a prolonged post-cure process. It can also be injection molded or 3D printed.
Silicone rubber may be cured by a platinum-catalyzed cure system, a condensation cure system, a peroxide cure system, or an oxime cure system. For the platinum-catalyzed cure system, the curing process can be accelerated by adding heat or pressure.
Silicone rubber is used across a diverse range of industries due to its many useful properties such as:
*Thermal Stability- Silicone is both low and high heat resistant as it maintains its properties across a wide range of extreme temperatures, from as low as -70°C to + 200°C.
*Low chemical reactivity
*Resistant to UV and Ozone
*Repels water – useful for making watertight seals and gaskets, as well as non-stick products
*Electrical Insulation – silicone can be formulated to both be insulating and conductive.
*Does not support microbiological growth.
As a low-taint, non-toxic material, silicone can be used where contact with food is required. Silicone is becoming an important product in the cookware industry, particularly bakeware and kitchen utensils. Silicone is used as an insulator in heat-resistant potholders and similar items; however, it is more conductive of heat than similar less dense fiber-based products. Silicone oven mitts are able to withstand temperatures up to 260 °C (500 °F), making it possible to reach into boiling water.
Other products include molds for chocolate, ice, cookies, muffins, and various other foods; non-stick bakeware and reusable mats used on baking sheets; egg boilers or cookware lids,pot holders, trivets, and baking mats.