- How is silicone made?
How is silicone made?
Silicones, often confused with the natural element silicon, are synthetic rubber-like materials with a wide range of uses. To create silicone polymers, we start with silicon, which is abundant in the earth's crust. Silicon is extracted as powders through an electrochemical process. However, to transform this hard, crystalline metalloid into the supple silicones we know, we first produce chlorosilanes. These compounds are made by combining silicon powder and methyl chloride gas through an electrochemical process.
The resulting methyl chlorosilanes serve as the building blocks for various silicone substances. Large-scale reactors are used to create a crude mixture of liquid chlorosilanes, which is then refined through distillation. The chlorosilanes are key to controlling the molecular structure of silicone polymers, enabling their diverse applications across industries.