Properties of silicone oil

Written by paul favors
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Silicone is a man-made chemical that is put to use in a staggering number of industries and applications. It is created by combining the naturally-occurring element silicone with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and various other chemical elements to yield the desired results. Silicone oil is a valuable product, as it offers some properties that allow it to be used in applications where other products fail.

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Facts

Today there are various industries and groups that rely upon silicone oil to a great degree. These include laboratory operations, medical facilities, restaurants, brewers and distillers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and even those who own and use air guns.

Properties

Silicone oil is a water-clear silicone fluid available in various viscosities. There is little change in the physical properties of silicone oil over a wide temperature span, and it is practically waterproof. There is also low surface tension, as it readily wets clean surfaces to impart its water-repellent and release characteristics. Silicone oil is essentially non-toxic and is a non-irritant, although it may cause temporary discomfort if it gets into the eyes. This fluid also exhibits resistance to oxidation, low vapour pressure, high flash points and heat stability.

Medical Use

Medical facilities rely on silicone oil during many eye operations and procedures. The purity of this oil allows it to be substituted for the vitreous fluid of the eye, which may have diminished due to injury or the need for repair. The pharmaceutical industry uses the anti-foaming properties of silicone oil with some of their products. These products are generally food-safe supplements that serve as anti-flatulents.

Food Industry

The food industry also utilises silicone oil for its anti-foaming properties. Distillers, brewers and all those using fermentation on a large commercial or industrial basis, have a problem if excessive foaming occurs during the process. Just the addition of silicone oil greatly reduces the chance of this happening in the course of fermentation. Many restaurants look to silicone oil to prevent deep fryers from foaming and splashing as well. They do not use pure silicone oil in the actual equipment, but they add it to the existing fluids.

Benefits

Silicone oil offers excellent electrical insulation, and it's also fire resistant. Silicone oil also has thermal stability and transfer qualities at both hot and cold extremes of temperature. It is perfectly safe for personal, cosmetic, food and other applications, as it has no odour, taste or chemical transference. Silicone oil is entirely non-toxic.

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