Silicone adhesives have several important performance characteristics that distinguish them from other adhesive families. Overall, users can rely on silicones to create bonds that withstand high temperatures (as high as 600F for certain grades), stay flexible even after curing, and resist both chemicals and water. Silicone systems also feature impressive electrical properties and may be formulated to be insulative with high dielectric strength or, conversely, electrically conductive. Although some one-part silicones release corrosive entities such as acetic acid, special noncorrosive formulas are available and are well suited for electronics applications. For example, these specialized silicone adhesives are frequently used as conformal coatings for electronic circuit boards and for sealing cables and sensors in appliances and electronics.
Within the broad classification of silicone adhesives are specific product types that feature unique advantages. To make the best selection, it is wise to discuss application details with your adhesives supplier at the earliest opportunity.
One-part specialty adhesives
One-part silicone adhesives, sealants, and coatings are often used in optical and electrical applications for assembly and repair tasks. Within the one-component family of silicone systems are a wide variety of specialized products offering various features. All products are environmentally friendly and free of both solvents and diluents, are easy to apply, and provide superior flexibility along with high-temperature resistance. They are well suited for strong adhesion to glass, plastics, metals, rubbers, and other substrates. Among their chief benefits is ease of use: They cure at ambient temperatures without the need for additional curing agents and are available with user-friendly applicators.
Beyond these common features, specialized product grades offer optical transparency and resistance to vibration, shock, enhanced heat, and corrosion. Other one-part silicones are designed to withstand extreme humidity, provide electrical insulation, or conduct heat and electricity, among other application-specific qualities. Certain grades are certified to meet military standards (MIL Specs) and UL requirements for flame retardance.
To understand just how versatile one-part silicone systems can be, it's helpful to take a closer look at some individual products. Consider the widely specified MasterSil 705TC, an easy-to-use, thermally conductive, electrically isolating, high-performance silicone employed in bonding, sealing, and coating applications. It comes as an off-white, noncorrosive paste and readily cures at ambient temperatures using only atmospheric moisture. It is especially well suited for thermally conductive applications where the need to rework the assembly may be important.