What Are Silicone Emulsions?

Silicone emulsions are non-toxic and heat-stable compounds that are produced by dispersing silicone oil in a liquid, typically water. This process is accomplished with the introduction of a surfactant. The resulting products exhibit a number of physical characteristics that make them highly beneficial for certain applications. For example, they can be antistatic, non-stick, and/or water-repellant. The properties of a silicone emulsion depend on its formulation; it can come in various pH levels, active levels, and more, all of which influence how it will perform within an application. 

Advantages of Silicone Emulsions

There are many advantages to using silicone emulsions over other compound solutions. Below, we highlight some of the key benefits. 

  • They are easy to use and clean. These compounds are available in numerous viscosities and concentrations, enabling them to be used in a variety of applications. Additionally, if needed, they can be diluted with water or cleaned from surfaces with soap and water.
  • They are environmentally friendly. These compounds have less of a negative impact on the environment than solvent-based systems, and tend to be benign and unreactive. Additionally, if it can be recovered, the silicone material can be recycled. 
  • They are cost-effective. These compounds can protect objects from abrasion, friction, molding and water, enabling them to extend the life of devices and systems. For this reason, they are often used by manufacturing companies to lower repair or replacement costs.
  • They are food-safe. These compounds normally have water as their primary volatile compound, which makes them ideal for use in or on products intended for contact with food and beverages. They are formulated to minimize the risk of imparting unwanted flavors or impacting quality. 
  • They are able to improve equipment efficiency. These compounds can be used on inline equipment, often eliminating the need for offline coating. Additionally, they can improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices (e.g., solar panels). 

Applications of Silicone Emulsions

Due to their many beneficial properties, silicone emulsions find use in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. For example:

  • In plastic and rubber materials, they are used as release agents and lubricants. 
  • In food trays and serving dishes, they are used as release agents and antistats. 
  • In car polishes and household cleaners, they are used to improve gloss, and impart protective properties and spreadability.
  • In textile finishing operations, they are used to enhance the feed, water repellency, and anti-wrinkling properties of products. 
  • In clay, perlite, vermiculite, and other building materials, they are used to increase water repellency and protect against dampness.
  • In printing and papermaking operations, they are used as lubricants and antistatic agents.
  • In cosmetics and body care products, they are used to improve untangling properties. 

Learn More About Silicone Emulsions From AMS

Want additional information on silicone emulsions? Ask the experts at Applied Material Solutions! We’ve manufactured chemical compound solutions for various processing challenges, including silicone emulsion defoamers and antifoams, for over 45 years. Contact us today to learn more.

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