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Silicones and Transport
May 19, 2016

As modern means of transport become faster, more reliable and more efficient, demands on materials to perform become tougher.

As such, smaller parts must resist exposure to extreme heat, moisture, salt and fuels. Most materials deteriorate in these conditions, but not silicones. Silicones retain their properties and – most important – ensure that cars, ships, airplanes and trains operate safely for the long haul.

Silicones contribute immensely to the safety of modern vehicles, from enabling airbags in cars to preserving the cabin pressure in airplanes.

The development and installation of airbags in cars is a milestone in vehicle safety. Highly durable, gas-tight fabrics are crucial to the performance of airbags, which is why these are coated with silicone on the inside. The silicone coating can ensure the bag, which protects the driver and passengers, remains gas-tight and heat resistant under the pressure from rapid inflation and other extreme conditions, such as fire. In addition, the material does not deteriorate with time but retains its properties year after year.

Silicones are used in almost all aspects of car assembly, from the tires to the engine, windows and sun-roof. They insulate electronic parts, reduce tire rolling resistance, bond lightweight materials together, and seal windows and doors. The same can be said about silicones’ uses in airplanes, trains, and even space vessels.

Silicone-based paints and coatings are safer alternatives to traditional marine coatings and paints. By applying these silicone products to hulls of ships and boats, the build-up of dirt and film is dramatically reduced, thereby improving fuel efficiency enormously. For large cargo ships, this improvement is particularly important because ships’ fuel consumption is quite significant. This fact makes the benefit of silicones in this application all the more impressive – fuel savings outweigh CO2 emissions from production of the silicone product 182 times! 

Silicones make an impressive contribution to minimising fuel consumption of cars and ships, thus reducing the CO2 footprint of the transport sector significantly.

Modern, fuel-efficient internal combustion engines run at very high temperatures. Did you know that silicone rubber is the only rubber that can endure these temperatures over a long time, thereby contributing to fuel savings in the operation of cars and trucks? In fact, for every ton of CO2 emitted during the production of silicone rubber used to make vital motor parts, over 86 tons of CO2 are saved when the engine is used!