Industry News

Dow Corning Describes Role of Silicones in Automotive Industry

Published on 2011-11-17. Author : SpecialChem

As the result of the growth in disposable incomes and rising middle classes around the world, more people are buying cars to drive for business and leisure. According to a report from Yale University's publication Environment 360, automakers increasingly are marketing their brands in developing nations such as China and India due to their phenomenal growth and significant future potential. Estimates are that China alone will have more than 200 million vehicles on the roads by 2020.

"Without silicones, vehicles as we know them simply wouldn't be possible," said Ivan Mini, global marketing manager for Dow Corning's XIAMETER® brand. "The automotive industry is a perfect example of how we're surrounded by silicone technologies and perhaps we don't even realize it."

Modern-day automotive systems, modules and components must work reliably under a variety of conditions, so vehicle designers and engineers rely on silicones for their excellent thermal stability, mechanical and corrosive resistance, as well as their compatibility with metals, plastics and elastomers.

Silicones are commonly found in wide-ranging applications, from adhesives, lubricants, insulating and sound-proofing materials to protection materials, sealants and gasketing, and torque transfer fluids.

"Silicones help automotive designers and engineers to explore new applications and improve on old ones," said Mini.

Specific areas where silicones play a key role include:
  • Airbags - Airbags protect the driver and passengers, and liquid silicone rubbers can help airbags deploy more reliably.
  • Lights - Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) using silicone lenses provide performance and safety benefits, such as lighting instantly to give trailing drivers more time to stop, offering better visibility in poor weather, and lasting longer than incandescent bulbs. High-performance silicone lubricants also enable a new generation of headlights to follow the front wheels, illuminating paths around corners.
  • Electronics - Silicon-based materials enable increasingly smaller, more powerful and more sophisticated auto electronics, such as sensors that can detect tire slippage and road obstacles. Silicone coatings also protect delicate electronic circuits that are used to control stability sensors and other electronic devices against temperature extremes, moisture, and other contaminants.
  • Tires - "Green tires" manufactured with tread compounds that contain silane-treated silica instead of carbon black roll more smoothly, which improves fuel efficiency, safety, performance, and environmental impact.
  • Body and interior - A variety of silicone polishes, shampoos and protectants deliver superior gloss, durability, water repellency, and soft feel to help keep cars looking and feeling new.
  • Brakes - Silicone lubricants, greases and pastes help reduce vibration, noise and squeaking. Silicones also help improve the performance of anti-lock brake (ABS) systems and stability (ESP) systems.


The XIAMETER® brand of Dow Corning Corporation offers market-based prices for standard silicone products. Introduced in 2002, the brand offers thousands of products including silicone fluids, sealants, silanes, emulsions and rubber. The XIAMETER brand is a no-frills model offering cost effective products through streamlined services and a web-enabled order platform.

The XIAMETER® business model offers customers enhanced self-service functionality, extended volume quantity options, transparent pricing, and more credit term choices. In addition, a broader range of standard silicone products is offered as well as the ability to purchase through local distribution.

About Dow Corning

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States.

Source: Dow Corning

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