Without silicones, many innovations in electric and electronic systems taken for granted today would not be possible. Silicones have played a crucial role in developing modern computer technology, telecommunications and electrical power distribution because they efficiently protect sensitive electronic assemblies and components from heat, dirt, corrosion and jarring movements. This helps long-term performance of many products that we increasingly rely on every day.
Because silicones can withstand high stress, extreme temperatures and ultra-violet radiation, they are used in many aspects of spacecraft assembly, including as glues and sealants. Silicones are also used to encapsulate the photovoltaic cells in solar panels. This is important to improve durability and performance of the panels.
Reliable electrical power distribution is dependent on silicone insulators to avoid costly and dangerous interruptions that otherwise could result from exposure to the elements. A good example is silicone-based cooling fluid used in electrical transformers where they replace PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), which are now banned in the United States, Europe and many other parts of the world.
Silicones are used in portable computers, where they insulate and protect the parts from heat, dirt, humidity and shock-impact.
Silicone technology is key to long-term performance of many, increasingly small, portable and sophisticated electronic devices, such as mobile phones, MP3 players, tablet computers, global positioning systems, hearing aids and many more. As devices become smaller, they also become more dependent on the efficient electrical and heat insulation silicones can provide.