Silicone sealants – the most widely used industrial sealants
Silicone sealants are the most widely used industrial sealants as they are easy to process and apply, as well as come with multiple other benefits. They are versatile and cure into tough, rubber-like, watertight seals, especially used in construction and automotive industry from engine gaskets to swimming pools.
Silicone sealants are generally resistant to chemicals, moisture and weathering, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. Silicone sealant can also be modified to match the needs of a specific application.
Special characteristics of silicone sealants
Next to being resistant to weathering, moisture and some chemicals, silicone sealants can have other properties which benefit specific applications. These include:
- Heat resistance: general purpose silicone sealants are somewhat heat resistant, but when continuous exposure to high temperatures is involved, it is good to opt for a heat resistant silicone sealant which can withstand up to 315ºC (600ºF).
- Electric protection and insulation: when electric and electronic materials such as silver, brass and copper need sealing, one should choose for a silicone which protects seals and insulates for example in the electronics industry.
- Resistance to microorganisms: silicones are watertight and therefore often used for sealing in humid environments such as swimming pools and industrial kitchens. For these applications the best choice is a sealant which is resistant to mold and mildew as well as other harmful microorganisms.
- Chemical resistance: even though silicone sealant is generally resistant to some chemicals, it is possible to make the product resistant to specific chemicals such as acids and solvents depending on the environment´s requirements.
Two types of industrial silicone sealants
Most of the silicone sealants are ambient curing, meaning that they harden in room temperature. The process can take up to 24 hours depending on the product and the thickness of the seal.
Even though silicone sealant may seem like a simple product, it exists in two different types: neutral cure and acetoxy silicones. For any enquiries regarding silicones sealants, contact us for the best possible solution tailored for your application.
Neutral cure silicone sealant
A neutral cure silicone sealant cures through evaporation of alcohol or another non-acidic substance. These sealants are predominantly odorless.
The neutral cure silicone is an ideal choice especially for sensitive surfaces such as stone and bitumen. These silicone sealants are generally more expensive than acetoxy silicones, but they do provide better adhesion watertightness than the alternative solutions. Therefore, they are the preferred choice also for outdoor applications.
Acetoxy silicone sealant
Acetoxy silicone sealant cures in room temperature releasing acetic acid. The acetic acid is what causes the strong, vinegar-like smell, these sealants are often recognized for.
Acetoxy silicone sealant is the cheaper and faster curing alternative to neutral cure silicones making them the most common type of industrial silicone sealants. However, one must consider the substrate when working with acetoxy silicones, since the acid in them may bring harm to sensitive materials. For example, when applied on bitumen substrates, bleeding may occur. On natural stone, discoloration may be caused and on some metals the risk of corrosion increases. Acetoxy silicone is, nonetheless, the go to sealant for industrial applications unless a neutral cure silicone is necessary.
Examples of uses of silicone sealants
Silicone sealants are used throughout industries and in many applications. Below you can find some of the applications where silicone sealant performs extremely well.
- Aquariums: as silicone forms a watertight seal and adheres to glass and plastics, it performs extremely well in construction and repairs of aquariums of all sizes.
- Engine gaskets and forced induction systems: especially heat resistant silicone sealants are used in the automotive industry for sealing joints exposed to high temperatures. These include engine gaskets and forced induction systems.
- General construction: silicone is used for making seals in industrial kitchens, commercial swimming pools and spas and many other applications from roofing and gutters to air seals in concrete panels.
Find the best silicone sealant for your project
Looking for a silicone sealant for your project? Do not hesitate to contact us for more information, advice on products or quotes for solutions. Our experts are determined to help you find the best possible solution for sealing your project.