MORRISVILLE, Pa.—Gelest Inc. has released two new hydrophilic modifiers for silicones.
The new products, MCS-VX15 and MCS-VF14, were designed to help formulators find a way to overcome the intrinsic hydrophobicity of silicones, said Ed Kimble, Gelest product manager for silicones. The firm wanted to find a way to make a long-term surface modification to a room-temperature-vulcanized silicone so that water would wet out on the surface better than it would on a traditional RTV.
Both products were released within the last six months, Gelest said.
Kimble said the inherent hydrophobicity of silicones can cause a real issue in applications where the device comes in contact with liquid, such as medical devices or micro fluidic devices.
“We're looking to get around some of the intrinsic properties of silicones,” Kimble said. “Silicones by nature are extremely hydrophobic and silicone elastomers being a downstream product of these, that can cause some problems.”
Gelest wanted to build this technology into these kinds of materials so they have a reactive, hydrophilic silicone additive for silicone RTVs that gives a long-term hydrophilic effect on the surface, without any post-cure surface treatments.
MCS-VX15 and MCS-VF14 consist of different structures to give the formulator more options catered to their liking.
“What we wanted to do was give the formulator a chance to take whatever silicone RTV they're using now—whatever silicone elastomer formulation that they already have on their shelf, that they like to use and have experience with—and have an additive for those times when they want to reduce the hydrophobicity and make the material hydrophilic,” Kimble said.
“This was a chance for us to bring two different modality functionalities as a way for different chemists and engineers to look at these materials and think what else they may want to do with them.”
The materials took about a year to develop and Kimble said the firm has focused on developing highly specialized silicone monomers for different applications and industries as part of a larger program for the last 10 years. The firm operates out of a manufacturing facility in Morrisville, just outside of Philadelphia.
“We've received some very positive feedback from the materials,” Kimble said. “This is outside the norm of what people were expecting. People like the idea of having a completely reactive modality that can give them the properties that they desire without having to do anything additional. It's the same work they'd be doing traditionally.”