Rugged Silicones Join Space Age (Dec, 1961)
Rugged Silicones Join Space Age
SILICONE compounds—ranging from synthetic rubber to lubricating greases — may be the most versatile chemical products developing for the space age. Some rubber, for example, can be painted over spacecraft to keep them from melting during the tremendous heat of blast-off and re-entry.
Another silicone rubber, with the addition of a chemical, turns from liquid to solid in minutes, withstands a blowtorch flame that will cut through steel, is immune to molten lead, yet lets you hold your hand on one side of a thin layer comfortably while a 5000°F flame is played on the other side.
The silicone lubricants maintain their viscosity throughout the temperature range from searing blast-off heat through the near-absolute-zero of outer space and back into the heat of reentry. Research and development is at General Electric Co., Waterford, N. Y.