tech.day 2022: Optimised silicone elastomers impress in a variety of applications
Silicone elastomers and sustainability – where is the connection? Momentive Performance Materials GmbH from Leverkusen, Germany is aware of the significant importance of this issue as, ultimately, the curing of silicones has to date ruled out recycling during their processing. This is precisely why the silicone specialist works to continuously improve its materials and will soon launch a product family that permits energy savings during processing. Momentive is also unveiling raw materials for alternative energy concepts such as fuel cells and e-vehicles and disposable products in the pharmaceutical industry for applications including the storage and transportation of vaccines.
Silicones are irreplaceable in many applications, due to their excellent attributes, the combination of temperature stability, flexibility, damping and non-stick characteristics and their unique haptic properties. Simultaneously, the entire plastics industry has a responsibility to enhance resource efficiency and introduce sustainable concepts. Cooperation with its customers is therefore an essential aspect of the approach adopted by Momentive. These customers include Starlim Spritzguss GmbH from Marchtrenk in Austria. Only this approach can optimise materials and processes.
The Silopren LSR 5000 product family is among the latest products developed by Momentive and will be launched on the market in the near future. The new silicone rubbers are distinguished by their low curing temperature. The temperature of the injection mold can be reduced by around 1/5 where these types are used or, alternatively, cycle times can be reduced without impairing the quality or mechanical properties of the final products. Energy costs can be saved and production efficiency enhanced as a consequence. The result is a sustainable solution. The low temperature curing types simultaneously permit the manufacture of 2K components with thermoplastics that cannot cope with the processing temperatures of 150 to 200 °C usual for silicone. Components of this nature are required for use in e-mobility applications and fuel cells, to give two examples.
Momentive developed HVDC silicones especially for applications in the energy industry. These new materials are ideal for DC cable systems designed to convey energy over long distances with low levels of loss. As losses in the conveyance of DC voltage are considerably lower than for AC voltage, the future is evidently to be found here.
Materials for the pharmaceutical industry that are considerably more flexible at low temperatures and can withstand temperatures up to -140 °C are a further Momentive innovation. These silicones are predestined for the manufacture of connectors, diaphragms, hoses or plugs for production systems used for vaccines with a short storage life such as those used to combat COVID-19.
In addition to exhibiting its innovative expertise through these products, the silicone specialist also demonstrates the fact that cured raw materials can also contribute to sustainable concepts.
Dr. Johannes Hepperle is a chemist responsible for the sale of innovative silicone elastomers, contributing a wealth of experience in R&D gained over many years. Dr. Hepperle has been with Momentive for nine years. His colleague, Clemens Trumm, has worked at Momentive for 25 years and, as an application engineer, represents the link between the company and its customers, supporting them in the selection and use of silicone elastomers suited to their individual needs. Momentive Performance Materials Inc., a global player employing 5,000 with its headquarters in Waterford, New York, provides these products for a broad spectrum of uses in the automotive, electronics and body care sectors, aerospace applications and the construction industry.