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Any of a diverse class of polymers manufactured as fluids, resins, or elastomers. They are partially organic compounds, but, unlike most polymers, they have a backbone containing no carbon, composed instead of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. In most silicones, two organic groups (seefunctional group), usually methyl or phenyl, are attached to each silicon atom. Silicones in general are exceptionally stable and inert. Silicone fluids are used in hydraulic fluids, emulsion-breaking compositions, and breast implants and as adhesives, lubricants, water repellents, and protective coatings. Silicone rubbers are used as electrical insulators in encapsulations, coatings, and varnishes; as gaskets and caulking material; in specialized tubing; as automobile engine components; as flexible windows in face masks and air locks; for laminating glass cloth; and as surgical membranes and implants.
Variants of SILICONE
silicone or polysiloxane
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on silicone, visit Britannica.com.