An Introduction to Silicone Oil
Silicone is a man-made chemical that is put to use in a staggering number of industries and applications.
It is created by combining the naturally occurring element silicon with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and various other chemical elements to yield the desired results.
It is a valuable product because it offers some high-quality properties that allow it to be used where other products fail.
It was first formally discovered in the 1930s, but it was ten years later that it earned the name of silicone and began to be put to use in many commercial applications. Today it appears in everything from cookware and toys, to automobiles and shampoo.
There are silicone rubber products, silicone baking sets, and even silicone gel products used to style hair. One area of silicone production that frequently confuses consumers is the difference between silicone oil and silicone grease. Silicone oil is a very distinct entity from grease, though both still rely on the many excellent properties of silicone itself.
Silicone oil is chosen for use because it offers the following:
· Electrical insulation
· Fire resistance
· Thermal stability and transfer qualities – at both hot and cold extremes
· No toxicity, which means it is safe for personal, food and medical applications
· No odour, taste or chemical transference
Today there are various industries and groups that rely upon silicone oil to a great degree. These include laboratory operations, medical facilities, restaurants, brewers and distillers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and even those who own and use airguns.
A laboratory will use silicone oil because of its excellent thermal stability. This is often put to work in heating baths used during prolonged experimentation. The nonflammable properties also ensure ultimate safety since most laboratory scenarios will call for the silicone oil to be heated by a burner or hot plate.
Medical facilities rely on silicone oil during many eye operations and procedures – its purity allows it to be substituted for the vitreous fluid of the eye which can be lost due to injury or the need for repair.
The food industry looks to silicone oil for its anti-foaming properties. Distillers, brewers and anyone performing fermentation on a large commercial or industrial basis is going to have problems if excessive foaming occurs. The simple addition of silicone oil greatly reduces the chance for this interrupting the process. Additionally, many restaurants look to silicone oil to prevent deep fryers from foaming and splashing as well. They do not use pure silicone oil in the actual equipment, but just as the distillers and brewers will do, they add it to the existing fluids.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are also applying the anti-foaming agents of silicone oil to their products, but these are food safe supplements meant to serve as antiflatulents. They are capable of reducing the symptoms of gas in the digestive system, and are widely used.
Finally, the popularity of airguns and paint ball facilities has created another wide use for silicone oil, and that is where the lubrication of the gas seals is concerned. Traditional oils and lubricants can quickly degrade the seals and moving parts within the equipment, but silicone oil does not.
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