Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nanoparticles Make Silicone Rubber Clearly Stronger


Silicone rubber and other rubber-like materials have a wide variety of uses, but in almost every case they must be reinforced with particles to make them stronger or less permeable to gases or liquids. University of Cincinnati (UC) chemistry professor James Mark and colleagues have devised a technique that strengthens silicone rubber with nanoscale particles, but leaves the material crystal clear.

Silicone rubber is often reinforced by tiny particles of silica (the primary component of sand and the mineral quartz). However, those silica particles can cloud the silicone rubber, which is a problem for protective masks, contact lenses and medical tubing that rely on silicone rubber’s transparency.

Mark, along with graduate student Guru Rajan, UC professor Dale Schaefer, UC associate professor Gregory Beaucage and Yeungnam University (Korea) professor Gil Sur reported on their new technique in the August 15 issue of the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics.

The technique infuses silicone rubber with nanoparticles up to five times smaller than the silica particles formed by comparable methods while still providing the same level of reinforcement and maintaining the silicone rubber’s clarity.

Variations on the technique might also be used to enhance other properties of silicone rubber and similar materials, affecting such traits as impermeability to gases or liquids. This could lead to better masks or suits to protect against agents that might be used in terrorist attacks.

The team’s technique is an improvement over related methods that use a chemical reaction to create silica particles within the silicone polymers. By generating the required catalyst in place from a tin salt and by restricting the amount of water to only that absorbed from water vapor in the air, the silica particles remain smaller—only 30 nm to 50 nm across—and are evenly dispersed throughout the silicone rubber. At that size, smaller than the wavelength of ultraviolet and visible light, the silica nanoparticles are essentially invisible.

NSF Media Contact: David Hart, 703-292-7737,

NSF Science Experts: Andrew Lovinger, 703-292-4933,
Triantafillos J. Mountziaris, 703-292-8371,

Principal Investigators: James Mark, 513-556-9292,
Gregory Beaucage, 513-556-3063,

Josh Chamot | NSF
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter
15.03.2018 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Boron can form a purely honeycomb, graphene-like 2-D structure
15.03.2018 | Science China Press

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>