Silicone emulsions are non-toxic, heat-stable products created when silicone oil is dispersed in a liquid, with the addition of a surfactant. They are usually used in applications that benefit from the material’s inherent physical properties. For example, silicone is non-stick, antistatic, and water-repellent. It also is a safe replacement for organic solvents and meets most safety, health, and environmental regulations. Many types of silicone emulsions exist, providing a range of pH options, active levels, and physical properties that make it possible to modify the material to your intended purpose.
Some surfactants are electrically charged. Based on the type of emulsifier used, there are three groups of silicone emulsions:
- Anionic: Negative charge
- Cationic: Positive charge
- Non-ionic: No charge
Most emulsions are not electrically charged and are mild in nature. They are commonly used in home cleaning, personal care, and agrochemical industries. The non-ionic group is compatible with either of the others.
Which surfactant you choose largely depends upon the intended application and the desired qualities of the solution. The viscosity of emulsions can be altered based on the polymers used. Concentrates can save on packaging, storage, and transportation costs.
What Industries are Using Silicone Emulsions?
Industries use silicone emulsions for a variety of applications, including, for example, as anti-slip agents, gloss enhancers, lubricants, smoothing agents, softeners, and water repellents.
A few of the most common industries that benefit from silicone emulsions include but aren’t limited to:
- Automotive Electronics
- Chemical Formulating
- Conformal Coating
- Food Processing
- LED & Lighting
- Thermal Transfer
- Water Treatment
Silicone emulsions can be used in a variety of ways thanks in part to their multitude of benefits. Here are just a few examples of how organizations can use silicone emulsifiers:
Personal care items like face or body moisturizers use emulsions to soften the skin. Hair products that improve the shine, manageability, and texture of hair typically include silicone emulsions in their formula.
Car polishes and household cleaners offer water-resistance, gloss, protection, and spreadability thanks to their silicone content.
The textile industry uses silicone emulsions to reduce creasing, enhance the texture and appearance of fabrics, add strength and tear resistance, and repel water.
Rubber and Plastics Manufacturing
Silicone emulsions can function as a release agent for manufacturers to prevent wear and decrease resistance during production.
Graphics and Printmaking
The graphics and printmaking industries use emulsions as lubrication and antistatic and anti-marring agents to prevent smears.
Kitchenware and Food Service
The rubber and plastic industry employs silicone emulsions as release agents and lubricants.
Architecture and Industrial Uses
Silicone emulsions are used in industrial applications to coat and seal joints in bridges, highways, skyscrapers, and ships to make them corrosion- and water-resistant.
Because silicone is flexible and stable within a broad range of temperatures, silicone emulsions are added to paint formulas that are designed for outdoor use—for example, on roads, highways, planes, rail cars, and houses.
What Are the Benefits of Silicone Emulsions?
The primary volatile compound in silicone emulsions is water, making them perfect for industrial and home cooking applications. Silicone is flexible and highly temperature-tolerant, allowing products to go from freezer to oven or microwave without imparting flavor or impacting the food quality.
Easy to Use
Silicone emulsions can be diluted with water and cleaned from containers with soap and water. They are available in a range of viscosities and concentrations, making them incredibly versatile.
Silicone emulsions are safer for the environment than most chemical solvents. Silicone is also durable and can be recycled after it’s no longer needed.
Silicone emulsions can be used in manufacturing facilities to reduce waste because they’re wear-resistant and protect items against abrasion, mold spores, water, and friction, thereby extending the life of industrial equipment. In addition to helping manufacturers avoid repair and replacement services, silicone emulsions are also cost-effective to create and apply.
Since silicone emulsions can be used on inline equipment, using them reduces the logistics, space, and equipment needed for offline coating. Silicone emulsions also improve the efficiency of solar panels and photovoltaic devices.
Applied Material Solutions (AMS) manufactures silicone emulsions ranging in concentration from 35% to 60% active. We have over 45 years of experience, offer superior customer service, and operate development and control facilities onsite to produce the highest-quality products. For additional information about silicone emulsions and other chemical products, contact us today.