Silicone lubricant is an excellent choice to separate two moving surfaces, though it is not ideal for all lubricating applications. One of the chief properties of silicone, the fact that they have linear polymers that slide over one another, gives silicone gels and oils lubricating properties, according to Dow Corning.
Silicone lubricants are used in a vast array of industries. According to 3M, a highly regarded silicone producer, these lubricants are used in electrical and automotive applications, and can be used to lubricate and protect plastics, inhibit the formation of rust and reduce friction. Additionally, it is an essential tool in plumbing applications. Silicone's dielectric properties also lend to its usefulness in connecting electrical components. It is widely popular in the marine industry as a sealant and as a lubricant.
Silicone grease is a popular agent in waterproofing underwater cameras, as well as sealing underwater lights. It is also used to seal lighting sockets above water. Battery terminals can be protected by spreading a layer of silicone over them to prevent corrosion. It is stable at a wide range of temperatures, making it an excellent choice for refrigeration and high temperature applications. It can be used around the house because it is colorless and odorless, and does not react with everyday chemicals, even after it has cured. Due to its low cost and high availability, silicone is the choice for lubricating any moving parts including squeaky door hinges, pulley wheels and plastic children's' toys. It is even available as a lubricant for prosthetic eyes.
When Not to Use
While it may seem like silicone lubricants can do just about anything, it is not the case. It is a poor adhesive--you should glue two surfaces together, then apply silicone over the seal to prevent the glue from corroding. Though silicone is non-toxic, it is also non-biodegradable, so it should not be used in applications requiring it to break down over time. Silicone lubricants should not be used in conjunction with silicone rubber as it can cause the rubber to break down.
About the Author
A professional travel writer since April 2010, Doug Leenhouts has written for world66.com and slowtrav.com. He has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and three years of service in a consulting firm.
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