TWINSBURG, Ohio—David Brassard, owner and president of Silicone Solutions, never intended to write a book. It just worked out that way.
Brassard said initially he started to write a trouble-shooting guide for silicone chemistry. Then he decided to write a property-modification guide. After that, a guide to basic silicone chemistry followed, along with an extensive glossary.
“I ended up with a book by the time I was done,” said the owner of the family-run business in Twinsburg.
The final product—published by Silicone Solutions—is a more-than 300-page book titled “The Silicone Elastomer Handbook: A Guide to Applied Silicone Elastomer Technology.”
Brassard officially unveiled the book at the International Silicone Conference, held May 18-19 in Cleveland, followed by an appearance the same week at the Silicon Conference in St. Louis.
The book includes:
— formulations and strategies to optimize properties;
— a troubleshooting and problem-solving guide;
— advanced processing techniques;
— a 27-page glossary of industry terms;
— case histories displaying problems and solutions;
— 144 figures and tables; and
— property constants and conversion charts.
He based the work on a course he teaches twice-yearly at the University of Akron's Polymer Training Center. The next three-day session is scheduled for Sept. 7-9.
Like the book, Brassard tries to make the course as applied as possible. “I allow them to bring in problems and we solve them,” he said.
The Silicone Solutions owner said he wrote the book because there has been a lack of usable information published on silicone elastomer technology in the more than three decades he has spent in the industry. Any recent books on silicone generally have been more academic in tone, along with several collections of conference proceedings that lack a flow and focus that he can give the subject as a singular author.
Brassard also said the inclusion of case studies that look at problems from different perspectives within the silicone industry especially should bring value to those looking for help in a real-world environment.
He sees several potential markets for the handbook. First, he sees it being used as a reference for firms involved in the molding and processing of silicone. He also said some libraries will use it as a reference book, and the University of Akron may want to sell the book to accompany the course he teaches.
As the owner of a small silicone firm who also worked for some of the big players in the silicone industry, Brassard said he is in a good position to shed a light on the potential problems —and opportunities—within the silicone elastomer sector.
Silicone Solutions employs about nine people, including his daughter Laurie, who is executive vice president; her husband, Nate Arter, general manager; another son-in-law, Joe Iatonna, a lab tech; and Brassard's wife, Lorraine, who runs accounting.
The firm has three areas of business: It sells about 100 standard products to the general market; custom-makes other silicone formulations for individual cli-ents; and does consulting work.
While the silicone market is starting to become mature, Brassard said there still are many potential products and markets for the material. Some recent projects have included developing a hard silicone for military use on a Humvee antenna; a silicone product that barnacles can't stick to; and a silicone cushion for a football helmet that still needs some work to make it lighter.
“As an entrepreneur, I address the needs of the market,” he said. “If there's a market for it, it'll grow. If not, it won't. We embrace unique things and opportunities. I have no problem sticking my neck out.”
Brassard has priced his book at $795.95, which might sound a bit high. But he said conference proceedings in recent years have sold at $500 to $600, while one silicone supplier put out a book that he called a “thinly veiled marketing tool” with a price of $800.
“I will miss a good share of the market, and I'm OK with that,” he said. “I want it to go to firms that will value it, rather than sell more copies but have them go unused. Those that view it as expensive probably don't work with silicone.”