Have you seen all those news posts about plastic, BPA, and everything in between?
Plastic is a growing concern for parents, environmentalists, and consumers everywhere. Plastic can be very dangerous.
If you follow any lifestyle magazines, home goods blogs, or anything of the sort, then you’ve likely seen an enormous rise in silicone all throughout the home.
From the kitchen cupcake liners, to the comfort cushions in your mouse pads, even down to your toothbrush holders. Silicone is everywhere.
Is silicone plastic?
No, and that’s particularly why it’s become so popular. Plastic comes with a ton of issues, such as leaching toxic chemicals into your food and drink, which silicone fixes.
Silicone isn’t a plastic, even though it does share some characteristics with common plastic that we’re all used to. We’re going to go over everything that you need to know about silicone in this guide.
Science Behind Silicone
Silicone is a polymer, which means that it has been arranged in a formula to be as unbreakable as possible. Silicon is actually related to silicon quartz, where silicon is the precursor to all silicone polymers.
Consisting of carbon, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen, silicone’s design involves extracting silica from silicon, and running it through hydrocarbons.
It all sounds a bit nuts, but it’s basically a way to say that silicon is manipulated to a different form, and fortified with other elements.
Because of its manufacturing methods, it’s relatively easy compared to other similarly rated silicone, which is partially why it’s gained such popularity. The science is simple enough to replicate for most major manufacturers.
History of Silicone
Silicone has been around a lot longer than most of us think. In 1930, a man by the name of J.F. Hyde began the first series of research efforts into silicone to be used for commercial purposes.
While he is generally hailed as the father of silicone, there’s another man in the mix who actually discovered its predecessor material.
1854 was when silicone really began. A man by the name of Henry Sainte-Claire Deville actually discovered crystalline silicon, which is the 14th element on the periodic table. Without his discovery, we wouldn’t have the ultra-durable polymer that we now possess in all of our homes.
While we’re here, since not many people really honor Mr. Deville the way he should be honored, he’s also the person we have to thank for the first economical process for producing aluminum, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Additionally, he is also partially to thank for platinum as we know it today.
When Mr. Hyde found out how to industrialize silicone, it was a slow process from there.
It took until about 1940 for Frederich Stanley Kipping – who used research provided by Hyde – attempted to mold the material known as silicone, but famously called it a “sticky mess