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Silicones are a large class of synthetic materials that include silicone sealants, adhesives and coatings and other materials that can help make buildings perform and last longer.
As a building material, silicones are extremely durable and can resist decay caused by severe weather conditions, moisture or sunlight. Silicones also enable innovative architecture and engineering feats, such as dramatic glass facades or curved and suspended structures.
Silicone chemistry helps exterior paints and coatings last longer and stand up to sun, salt, pollution and age. Silicone chemistry provides qualities and benefits that help paint better adhere to surfaces, disperse color pigments and resist damages from weather and staining. Silicone-enhanced paints applied to building exteriors and other structures can also withstand freeze and thaw cycles without cracking or peeling.
Silicone sealants are used in expansion, construction, connection and movement joints to ensure important structural materials stay in place. These sealants also add flexibility to building structures, allowing materials to absorb stress and movement caused by wind or earthquakes. Silicone sealants in buildings can also make buildings more energy efficient by preventing humidity and hot or cold air from coming inside through joints and cracks.
Silicone adhesives and structural silicone glazing are used to protect and maintain the long-term quality and appearance of a building façade, helping commercial and industrial structures withstand ongoing exposure to the elements. For example, silicones are part of the glaze of vast expanses of glass that are a feature of many modern architecture buildings. These facades depend on silicone sealant and glazing to insulate and protect glass panels in building façades from UV radiation.
Silicone products can help in restoring historical buildings, monuments and landmarks such as the statues on Easter Island and the Tower Bridge in London. Silicone chemistry can help renovation experts to restore a structure without compromising the appearance or integrity of the original material. For example, silicone sealants and adhesives reinforce the natural strength and “weatherability” of old joints and structures. Silicone materials can also add water repellency and “breathability” to materials such as porous limestone and sandstone, used more frequently in the past. Silicone coatings can be applied uniformly; they do not stain or streak an older structure.
Silicones can contribute to energy efficiency by overall reducing energy use in a building. Silicone surfactants are additives used in manufacturing polyurethane foams used to insulate buildings. These silicones are added to polyurethane to help to give the final foam better insulation value and also higher foam yield or coverage for lower installation costs.