Silicones in Coatings

Silicones are widely used in the coating industries as materials to protect and preserve but also to bring style to a wide variety of applications in our daily lives.

The unique combination of properties of silicones is well suited to coating applications. Two families of products are used: silicone polymers as additives and silicone resins as the main component, or binder.

At low levels, silicone polymers are used to ease application of paints. The surface properties of silicones enable a paint to wet a substrate easily and give it a smooth appearance once dry.

Here silicones are behaving as performance-enhancing additives during the coating application. They are effective at an addition level of a fraction of a percent (see Table 1).

In contrast to the low-level use of silicone polymers as additives, silicone resins can be major components of the coating. Here they are used as binders or co-binders, imparting important benefits such as durability throughout the life of the coating. Silicone resins offer resistance to weathering in paints for exterior surfaces such as bridges and metal cladding on buildings. They also provide water repellence to masonry surfaces such as stone and brick.

Silicone resins have greater resistance to high temperatures than organic resins and are used in paints for ovens, chimneys, car exhausts and barbecues. In these examples, the resilience of the silicone materials allows reduced frequency of maintenance painting and consequently
reduced volumes of paint used over the lifetime of the coated item (see Table 1).

Table 1. Silicones in Coatings and Associated Benefits

 Silicones as performance-enhancing additives (0.1
– 5.0 % w/w)
 Silicone resins and intermediates (30 – 100 % w/w)
Foam control
Substrate wetting
Surface slip
Weather resistance
Heat resistance 

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