Silicone lubricants have the ability to be either dry or liquid lubricants, depending on the material composition. As a water-soluble material, silicone lubricants provide moisture protection that allows them to also function as sealants. Some of the many advantages of silicone lubricants include low friction, ability to be used in high temperatures and high oxidation-resistance.
Silicone, which is a synthetic compound usually made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, makes an excellent lubricant. It is able to remain at a liquid state at room temperature as a result of its low methyl-to-methyl intermolecular interactions. Since silicone is non-reactive to most substances, silicone lubricants can be used in a wide range of applications including sliding mechanisms, gaskets, door hinges, interconnecting ground glass joints, faucets and seals, dental equipment and o-rings. As a result of their wide-ranging applications, silicone lubricants are often used in industries such as industrial, aerospace, automotive, commercial, electronics, medical, chemical processing and military. In addition to reducing friction between two moving materials, silicone lubricants can also be used for energy transfer applications. The ability of this lubricant to be either dry or liquid weighs heavily in its favor, since it expands the amount of applications it can be used for.
Silicone lubricants are most commonly used in grease form or as a liquid coating. In addition, silicone lubricants also come in the form of silicone compounds, pastes and dispersions. Silicone grease is the most common type of silicone lubricant and consists of a lubricating liquid media, a thickening agent and additives that create a semi-solid material. Silicone grease is commonly used on moving parts such as rolling-element bearings and is highly popular in the automotive industry. As a coating, silicone is sprayed onto the material in order to form a dry film that bonds to the surface and provides an extremely wear-resistant lubricant. The dry film form of silicone lubricants allow for usage in applications that liquid lubricants such as greases or oils cannot be used, such as food processing applications where the liquid lubricant could prove hazardous if it came into contact with food. Additional benefits of silicone lubricants include their inertness to most chemicals, allowing for wide usage in chemical processing applications, as well as their high resistance to aggressive environments versus organic lubricants and unsurpassed wide temperature capabilities.