No mistake, we did indeed say silicone and paint in the same sentence. For a long time, automotive manufacturers have been misinformed about the real relationship between silicone and paint. You even mention the word and they are already slamming the door behind them. Naturally, their thoughts go to pure or unmodified silicone with its oilier-than-oil consistency and inability to mix with water, oil and—paint.
However, when silicone is modified organically, it becomes compatible with paint. These types of modified silicones actually enhance the performance of paint by migrating to its surface of the paint so that it can evenly spread over metal and plastic surfaces. The result? Our cars, planes and trains sport a fantastically smooth, even coat of paint!
A closer look at organo-modified silicones
The main raw ingredient in silicone is silicon (no E!) which is the 8th most abundant element in the universe, although it very rarely appears as a pure element. Silicon is abundant in various forms such as dioxide (silica) or silicates in dust, sand, asteroids and planets. The Earth’s crust is 90% silicate minerals which means that silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, second only to oxygen.
Now when it comes to organo-modified silicones, let’s think of silicone as the backbone of a molecule. When we make organo-modified silicones, what we are doing is attaching organic elements to the silicone backbone to form ‘ribs’. This organically modified silicone, and not pure silicone, can now be mixed with paint to give it a series of performance-enhancing properties such as:
- Scratch & mar resistance
- Weathering resistance
- Heat resistance
Elkem’s silicones solutions for paint
At Elkem Silicones, we create two types of silicone additives for your painting needs:
- Have you ever wondered how to achieve a mirror-like paint job that is perfectly smooth and uniform, even for water-based paint? Certain BluesilÔ products, composed of part silicone and part organic molecules, can help you achieve just that. The silicone reduces surface tension, acting as a wetting and levelling agent, so that paint goes on smooth. Furthermore, these silicones help to disperse the pigments into paint to enhance color and flow. The result is perfect coverage and beautiful finishes with rich colours.
- Secondly, for special paints and coatings, we offer silicone resins that boast much sought after properties such as resistance to high temperatures and the ability to seal out water. Phenyl-modified silicones provide optimal heat-resistance properties. Heat-resistance is an important property in paint as often times paints need to resist extreme heat, most obviously when they are applied to barbecues, motorcycle silencers and tailpipes, for example.
We offer a range of silicone wetters/disperants and of heat-resistant resins so you can enhance your paints and coatings.
To find out more about our silicones, feel free to visit the part of our website dedicated to paint and coatings with silicones.