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Elastosil Film from Wacker is manufactured under clean-room conditions
Elastosil Film from Wacker is manufactured under clean-room conditions

At K 2013, Wacker Chemie AG will be introducing the world's first ultra pure precision silicone film which is available as roll stock in thicknesses down to 20 microns.

The new Elastosil Film sees a product that has not yet been made commercially available in this form. Made entirely from silicone elastomers, these films are available in thicknesses down to 20 microns. They are manufactured in cleanroom conditions without the use of solvents. For improved handling, Elastosil Film comes with an intermediate backing from which they can easily be peeled off intact.

Wacker says its patent-registered production process provides immaculate and uniform silicone films with a defined thickness. The film thickness across the entire width and length of the film web deviates from the specification by ±5% at most.

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, as a membrane for separating or enriching gases or for producing particularly soft and flexible adhesive plasters, according to the company.

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.

Because silicone elastomers are electrically insulating, have good dielectric properties, and endure long term mechanical loads with hardly any signs of fatigue, Elastosil Film can also be used, for example, as an electroactive polymer (EAP).

Under certain conditions, EAPs are able to alter their shape when a voltage is applied. As a result, silicon films can be used to design innovative sensors, actuators and generators. Potential applications range from toys, electrical relays and electrically operated valves to artificial limbs and peristaltic pumps.

Forming part of artificial muscles in actuators, silicone films can replicate not only linear movements, for example, but also natural forms of movement. What's more, silicone films may in the future play a pivotal role in the conversion of maritime wave power into electricity, remarks Wacker.

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.

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