Everything you need to know about silicone and silicone sealant

How To

What is Silicone?

Silicone is an artificial chemical compound made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements such as carbon and hydrogen. It is typically a fluid or a flexible, rubberlike plastic and has low thermal conductivity, high heat resistance and the ability to repel water and form watertight seals.

It is found across a number of industries including healthcare for items such as contact lenses and bandages, as well as offering superior protection to a range of electronic systems. Silicone is also common in a number of personal care items such as shampoos and shaving foam.

What is Silicone Sealant?

AT ROCOL, we provide a high-quality range of silicone-based sprays and sealants which can be used across a variety of industries. Silicone sealant is a unique liquid form of adhesive as it retains its elasticity and stability in high temperatures which makes it suitable for environments which experience significant levels of heat.

It is resistant to chemicals, moisture and erosion meaning it can be applied to a variety of materials across a broad range of industries. They are also extremely easy to clean and will provide a professional finish to any project.

Silicone Sealant Applications

Silicone sealant is commonly used to complete joints, prevent water from leaking in between surfaces and fill in seams and other gaps. The silicone’s flexible properties make it ideal for applications such as sealing the border of baths, sinks and showers in bathrooms and kitchens, caulking a building’s doors or windows and even as an aid for sealing the engine of a motor vehicle.

Speciality silicone grease and fluids are also available to assist with many industrial, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

Types of Silicone Sealants

All silicone sealants possess the same adhesive qualities, but there are some that have been designed to assist with specific applications.

A multi-purpose, universal silicone sealant is handy to have around the house when required and is straightforward to apply. Furthermore, it can be used on several surfaces, including aluminium, ceramic, glass, metal, wood and plastic.

If you are coming into contact with objects that reach extreme heat intensity, then it is recommended to purchase a high temperature silicone sealant. Applications include sealing of stove pipes or the lubrication of steam turbine valve gear operating at high temperatures. Specialists HotMelt maintain that: “An excellent high-temperature silicone sealant can withstand temperatures as high as 600°F.”

For materials that are constantly open to the elements, an electrical grade self-levelling silicone is ideal as it does not contain acetic acid or any other caustic chemicals.

How To Apply It

For this stage of the process, you will need to slot your tube of silicone into the silicone gun. Regulate the tightness of the trigger so it is attuned to the size of your tube. Squeeze the trigger slowly and lightly until the mechanism is touching the silicone tube and then secure it into position.

Prepare the surface area by removing any dirt, grime or particles that could potentially interfere with the sealant and weaken it. Use a wet sponge that has been soaked in soapy water to clean the workspace and then thoroughly dry off the surface with a towel. A moist surface can prove to be hazardous because of the silicone sealant being waterproof.

Pierce a hole at the top of the silicone tube at a 45 degree angle and as close to the tip as possible. Experiment on material away from the surface (ideally scrap) to gauge if you need to make the opening greater. Once you’re satisfied with the output, begin to apply the silicone gradually and as evenly as possible.

Each time you apply the sealant, wet your finger and use it to spread the silicone level. It is imperative you keep dampening your finger or the silicone sealant will stick.

How To Make It Dry Faster

It is common for the sealant to appear wet even after it has dried. It takes approximately 24 hours for the silicone to fully cure, but this is dependent on the temperature and humidity. It is recommended that the temperature needs to be between 40°F and 100°F, and there needs to be between 5% and 95% humidity for silicone to dry properly.

To bolster the drying speed, a heat lamp, fan or a hair dryer can be utilised to aerate the adhesive. Alternatively, sealant catalysts can be purchased if time is very much of the essence.

How To Remove Silicone

Use a sharp knife to cut along the silicone, running the metal blade along the wall. Then smoothly administer a flat-blade chisel against the tiles so the silicone prods out. For any remaining silicone pushed further back, use a flexible plastic or metal grade to scrape it out.

Exert pressure by pushing and pulling the blade backwards and forwards between the void. The silicone will grip the surface of the blade and start to free up. Once you have removed most of the silicone, wipe the residue off using a cloth. You can simply this task by wringing the cloth in methylated spirits. According to Bunnings Warehouse, “the methylated spirits act as a solvent, breaking down the last of the silicone, making it less sticky and easier to wipe up.”

For more information about ROCOL and its products, contact customer.services@rocol.com or phone +44 (0) 113 232 2700.

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