Much of human history has been written about discovery and invention, and the history of silicone is no different. Overtime, silicone has been adapted and used for a variety of different uses; and it’s unique properties have allowed society to achieve many feats of greatness. In one sense, silicone has been used by mankind for many centuries, it was used in clay to build huts – over time, however, society has refined silicone and used it to create microchips, keypads and many other advanced applications. To fully understand the unique properties and uses of silicone, you have to dive deeper into its scientific makeup.
Scientifically speaking, silicone is classified as a metalloid, an element that has metal and non-metal properties, making it a very versatile element. Physically, silicone can take different forms – one form of silicone present itself in a shiny gray/silver; in another form, it occurs in a brown powder. Depending on the application of the silicone, a different form of the element should be used.
Just like physical properties, the chemical properties of silicone can also change depending on a number of properties. At room temperature, silicone is extremely resistant to change, this means that water, acids, or other chemicals don’t have a significant effect on silicone. When the temperature of silicone is increased significantly, it becomes moldable and reactive to a chemical mixture. Depending on how you plan to use silicone technology, you will want it to have certain physical or chemical properties.
From silly putty to silicone valley, silicone is a chemical element that is widely used in our modern day society. Perhaps you’ve wondered why the area just south of San Francisco has been Christened “Silicone Valley”. The name comes from the use of silicone in semiconductors/microchips, given to the area because of the high concentration of technology companies in the area. Silicone is not only used in computer chips however, the element can be seen in a wide variety of applications including:
- Medical devices
- Laboratory instrumentation
- Point of sales
- Industrial equipment
- Consumer electronics
In each one of these industries, silicone is used to seal, protect, conduct, and increase the functionality of countless products. One such product is silicone keypads – a versatile product that can be a critical component to many products. If you are designing a product that requires a durable, custom built keypad – give us a call and let us answer your toughest silicone questions.