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Terminology And History Of Silicone
Nov 09, 2018

Fashionable Liquid Silicone Mobile Phone Case

Terminology and history

F. S. Kipping coined the word silicone in 1901 to describe polydiphenylsiloxane by analogy of its formula, Ph2SiO (Ph stands for phenyl, C6H5), with the formula of the ketone benzophenone, Ph2CO (his term was originally silicoketone). Kipping was well aware that polydiphenylsiloxane is polymeric whereas benzophenone is monomeric and noted that Ph2SiO and Ph2CO had very different chemistry. The discovery of the structural differences between Kipping's molecules and the ketones means that silicone is no longer the correct term (though it remains in common usage) and that the term siloxanes is correct according to the nomenclature of modern chemistry.


Silicone is sometimes mistakenly referred to as silicon. The chemical element silicon is a crystalline metalloid widely used in computers and other electronic equipment. Although silicones contain silicon atoms, they also include carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and perhaps other kinds of atoms as well, and have physical and chemical properties that are very different from elemental silicon.


A true silicone group with a double bond between oxygen and silicon does not commonly exist in nature; chemists find that the silicon atom prefers to form single bonds with each of two oxygen atoms, forming a chain, rather than a double bond to a single atom. Polysiloxanes are among the many substances commonly known as "silicones".


Molecules containing silicon-oxygen double bonds do exist and are called silanones but they are very reactive. Despite this, silanones are important as intermediates in gas-phase processes such as chemical vapor deposition in microelectronics production, and in the formation of ceramics by combustion.


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