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Wacker introduces precision silicone film

Wacker introduces precision silicone film
Wacker is introducing ultrapure precision silicone films at Energy Harvesting & Storage USA. The film is available as roll stock in thicknesses down to 20 microns. Marketed as Elastosil Film, the product broadens the application potential of silicones significantly, making new product ideas possible, such as functional membranes and components for medical electronics or innovative technologies based on electroactive polymers such as sensors, actuators, and generators. Energy Harvesting & Storage USA takes place in Santa Clara, CA, on November 19 & 20.

Elastosil Film is a precision silicone film that has not yet been made commercially available in this form. It is made entirely from silicone elastomers and is available as roll stock in thicknesses down to 20 microns. Elastosil Film is manufactured in cleanroom conditions without the use of solvents. For improved handling, it comes with an intermediate backing which can be peeled off easily without damaging the product.

Wacker's patent-registered production process provides immaculate and extremely uniform continuous-feed films with a defined thickness. It deviates from the specification by +/- 5 percent at most across the entire width and length of the film web. This particular property, together with the material's typical silicone characteristics, permits technical applications that were previously very hard or even impossible to implement on an industrial scale.

Elastosil Film is suitable as a gas-permeable packaging and protective film or as a membrane for separating or enriching gases. In this regard, silicone films exhibit a beneficial property typical of silicone elastomers: the film is permeable to water vapor and certain gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, but not to water.

Silicone elastomers are electrically insulating, have good dielectric properties, and endure long-term mechanical loads with hardly any signs of fatigue. Therefore, Elastosil Film can also be used as an electroactive polymer (EAP). Under certain conditions, EAPs are able to alter their shape when electrical voltage is applied. Thus, they are able to replicate linear and natural forms of movement. Based on this principle of an artificial muscle, silicon films can be used to design novel kinds of sensors, actuators, and generators. Possible applications range from consumer electronics, electrical relays, valves and pumps to artificial limbs.

In the future, silicone films may also play a pivotal role in the conversion of maritime wave power into electricity. As part of a project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), a consortium of industrial and R&D partners led by Robert Bosch GmbH is developing the basic principles underlying future wave farms. Wacker is the project member responsible for developing silicone films and the related production process.

Elastosil Film provides the key to the commercialization of innovative designs and technologies. The films ensure precise functioning. Thanks to their durability, they also make sure that critical components enjoy almost maintenance-free operating.