K Show Report: Wacker develops new thermoplastic silicone polymer
Wacker Silicones has developed a new polymer that incorporates silicone and thermoplastic in a single monomer unit.
Wacker Silicones has developed a new polymer that incorporates silicone and thermoplastic in a single monomer unit. Previous silicone-based elastomers were made in two components. The novel hybrid polymer, given the trade name Geniomer, is a polydimethylsiloxane urea copolymer. It combines the properties of silicone and thermoplastic, and can be molded on standard injection molding or extrusion equipment. The material has good elasticity and high transparency. Company officials said Geniomer is initially being targeted for medical applications, coatings and possibly as a processing aid. Its high transparency also means it might have use in fibre optic applications.
"The key to this polymer is the non-permanent cross-link between the siloxane molecule and thermoplastic chain," said Dr. Saschal Buchel, technical service manager with the company. "It means the polymer can be melted and molded. It also means it has higher purity than two-component thermoplastic silicone, which gives superior transparency."
The company said it intends to work with customers and others interested in finding new uses for the polymer.