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Silicone is a synthetic polymer often used in medical and cooking applications thanks to its heat resistance and its non-toxic property (FDA grade required). Applied to textile, silicone polymer can be used as a coating in order to enhance fabrics with performance ranging from waterproofness to liquid nitrogen protection. Those properties can be highly useful for industrial applications.
Anti-stick x anti-slip
The surface energy is a method used to evaluate the molecular bond between 2 surfaces of different type of materials. A high surface energy substrate means that the material will easily adhere to other material, and vice versa. Because silicone polymer has one of the lowest surface energy (low wetting level) known to date (20-25 dyne/cm), only second to PFTE (18-20 dyne), a silicone coated fabric will generally feature outstanding release properties. In the same time, certain grades of silicone can also present high friction coefficient, which translates into a material that can offer grip. Those 2 features coexisting on a same substrate are what make silicone coated fabric so unique. It is particularly useful for example in printing, laminating, or web processing industries when both a high release and a strong grip is required to optimize the substrate handling during the process (traction tape).
Anti-stick x heat resistance
Silicone polymer can also withstand temperatures up to 200°C thanks to its highly stable chemical structure. Combined with its release property, silicone coated fabrics are ideal when used as a release sheet in processes involving sticky materials and high temperature (rubber curing for belts or flooring, packaging welding…)
Anti-stick x thermal insulation
Another interesting property of the silicone is its low thermal conductivity. Because heat transfers at a lower rate than in other materials, silicone coated fabrics are ideal when used to thermal insulate objects or spaces. Combined with its non-stick property, it is best used for industrial applications involving high or low temperatures with a tough working environment (asphalt truck covers, heat shrink tunnel curtain, cold rooms…)
Anti-stick x chemical resistance
Silicone is chemically inert and therefore resists a wide range of chemical products. Waterproof and stain free, silicone coated fabrics are ideal for application involving solvents or coolants. Combined with its natural anti-adherence, it is ideal when used as industrial protective covers against chemical aggression (robot covers, aircraft tire covers)
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