Monday, November 10, 2014

As silly of a silicone product as you will ever find

Courtesy of Chemjobber, comes this silly idea: the Silibagz - a silicone bag that is pretty hard to take seriously.

It's not as if silicone bakeware doesn't already exist. It does. So this is merely a bag instead of a muffin pan. And in fact, you can already buy silicone bags (which makes me wonder about the people behind this fundraiser and their supporters). What makes this funding effort silly are so many of the claims.

Such as
"We use platinum silicone exclusively, as we believe the only reasonable solution is a highly durable, safe and eco conscious solution [sic] (platinum silicone is the highest grade silicone available)."
That's a whole lot of misstatements in a short span. First, there is no such thing as "platinum silicone" and it is not the highest grade available. This whole "platinum silicone" concept makes it seem like it's a Platinum Album or a Platinum Visa Card. It's not. It's actually a "platinum-cured silicone" which has platinum as a catalyst and it typically used in 2-part silicones. But now let's look at the whole "eco conscious solution [sic]" statement. First you have silicone polymer, made from silica. But you can't just dump silica sand into a reactor and voila! out jumps silicone polymer. Instead, the silica is first reacted with an organic chloride over a copper catalyst to make dimethyldichlorosilane. Then you throw in some water to create hydrochloric acid and some low molecular weight oligomers that can be separated and polymerized. So just in terms of raw materials, you already have the silica, the (toxic) organic chloride, and the copper and platinum metals which need to be mined (oh, there's an environmentally clean operation that is sustainable).

But just the energy required to pull this off is also considerable. Distillation columns everywhere. "Outside of the petroleum industry, Dow Corning Corporation maintains the largest distillation operation in the world! " So how is this an "eco conscious solution[sic]"? Running that many distillation columns takes a whole lot of energy derived from the combustion of petroleum fuels (or maybe even coal!). Those energy costs are a huge contribution to silicone polymers costing so much compared to organic polymers even though the starting material is so much cheaper.

No, this whole effort is just plain stilly, start to finish. I don't think that the project initiators are proceeding in bad faith, but only that they have deceived themselves.

Previous Years

November 10, 2011 - Give me a photon! No, you better make it 2!

November 10, 2010 - Flow-Induced Crystallization #4

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