Momentive Performance Materials, a global leader in specialty chemicals and materials, has developed a new silicone technology that uses ultraviolet (UV) light instead of heat to cure rubber and liquid silicone rubber (LSR).
The new technology allows for shorter cure times at low temperatures while maintaining the physical properties of a typical silicone rubber.
Marketed under the Silopren and Addisil trade names, the diverse UV product portfolio ranges from extrusion and molding materials to coatings and gels. These innovative silicone products can lead to new opportunities in a wide range of applications such as medical devices that combine silicone rubber with thermally sensitive materials, which include pharmaceutical drugs, electronic parts and low temperature thermoplastics that cannot withstand the high temperatures reached during the curing process of traditional silicone materials.
A key advantage of Momentive’s UV cure technology is that the cure is based on platinum catalyzed addition cure chemistry, typically resulting in products with high purity and low levels of extractables. The crosslinking reaction is initiated by exposure to UV light, which promotes rapid cure at relatively low temperature while eliminating the use of highly reactive peroxides.
Use of Momentive’s new UV curing technology in certain applications and processes has shown the potential to save time and resources. With UV curing, the need for secondary processing to eliminate residual by-products generated by peroxide cure systems can be typically bypassed, and shorter cure times can significantly increase extrusion line speeds – all potentially contributing to reduced energy consumption and processing costs. As relatively little heat is generated by the UV curing process, air conditioning requirements may also decrease significantly along with the need to cool cured silicone, perhaps even to the point where cooling wheels and chillers can be eliminated.
“We are actively collaborating with customers to help them use our new technology to innovate, while continuing to build on our UV portfolio of products made from different silicone bases in different durometers,” said Holger Albrecht, Global Marketing Director, Consumer, at Momentive. “We are also proud of the fact that our UV technology can offer an alternative to conventional curing methods, and may offer the potential of lower impact on the environment.”