siliconE, not silicon!!!

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Posted by Sarah on January 05, 2006 at 16:32:25:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Corn starch or Talc posted by Josh.C on January 04, 2006 at 10:48:26:

I frequently see people referring to the lubricant as "silicon". It is not silicon, it is silicone with an e.

Silicone is often mistaken colloquially for elemental silicon, because of the similarity in pronunciation and spelling, but they are entirely different. For example, in the Shakira song "Objection (Tango)", the lyrics "next to her cheap silicon I look minimal" should be "next to her cheap silicone I look minimal."
The word "silicone" is derived from ketone, and is technically not the correct term for the polymers this article describes. A true silicone group has a double bond between oxygen and silicon, like a ketone group with Si in place of C (the same terminology is used for compounds such as silane, which is an analogue of methane). Polysiloxanes are called "silicone" due to an early mistaken assumption about their structure, but it has since been shown that they contain no silicone groups at all.

Silicon is a element # 14 on the atomic scale. Silicon makes up 25.7% of the earth's crust by weight, and is the second most abundant element, exceeded only by oxygen. It is found largely as silicon oxides such as sand (silica), quartz, rock crystal, amethyst, agate, flint, jasper and opal. Silicon is found also in minerals such as asbestos, feldspar, clay and mica.

Silicones, or polysiloxanes, are inorganic polymers consisting of a silicon-oxygen backbone with side groups attached to the silicon atoms. Certain organic side groups can be used to link two or more of these -Si-O- backbones together. By varying the -Si-O- chain lengths, side groups, and crosslinking, silicones can be synthesized into a wide variety of materials. They can vary in consistency from liquid to gel to rubber to hard plastic. The most common type is linear polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS. The second largest group of silicone materials is based on silicone resins, which are formed by branched and cage-like oligosiloxanes.

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