Donald Liles - The Role of Silicones in Formulating Water-Based Coatings

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Donald Liles - The Role of Silicones in Formulating Water-Based Coatings


The Role of Silicones in Formulating Water-Based Coatings

Silicones represent a class of compounds that are based on the element silicon and they exist in a variety of forms that include oils, fluids, high viscosity polymers, gums, elastomers, resins and silanes.  Silicones are completely synthetic and they have been commercially available for about the past 70 years.  Due to their unusual surface properties and their ability to accommodate wide temperature extremes, silicones have become indispensible in the developed world as they are used in myriad applications, including coatings.  Silicones’ use in coatings began during the early stages of silicone commercial development and today they are used extensively in coatings to provide improved performance such as slip & abrasion resistance, weatherability and thermal stability or to achieve a specific function.  The use of silicones in water-based coatings falls into the following general categories: (1) silicone additives in which a small amount (<1%) of silicone is used; (2.) silicone polymers whereby silicones constitute from 30-50% of the coating binder; (3.) 100% silicone coatings in which the entire coating binder is silicone; (4.) aqueous water repellents.  This lecture will present a brief introduction to silicones by describing what they are and some of their properties.  It will also cover silicones’ function in water-based coatings and the benefits obtained from their use.  Due to silicones’ unusual surface properties, several types of surface defects in water-based coatings can arise from certain silicones.  A short discussion will also be presented on surface defects and how silicones can both cause and alleviate some surface defects in water-based coatings.        

Dr. Donald Liles
Retired - Emulsions Development Group
Dow Corning Corporation


Don joined Dow Corning Corporation as a chemist in 1974, after having completed an MS degree in organic chemistry from Georgia Tech and a BS degree in chemistry from North Georgia College.

During his 35+ year career, Don has worked in silicone resins, silicone elastomers, organosilicon intermediates and water-based silicone polymers. Don has been a key contributor to the science and technology of Dow Corning's silicone emulsion portfolio of products for a number of years, whereby he has also been associated with the development of numerous commercial products.

Besides actively generating technology, Don also has avidly shared his knowledge with others throughout his career. He frequently lectures both inside and outside of Dow Corning on emulsions, silicone emulsions and silicones in water-based coatings.

Don has published 12 scientific articles, a book chapter and he has also been granted 46 US patents.

Don is married and has two children. Outside of work, Don enjoys his family, skiing, backpacking, bicycle riding and boating.

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About Dow Corning

Dow Corning: a history of proven innovation

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and XIAMETER®  ( brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States. Dow Corning’s global operations adhere to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative, a stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure management of chemical products and processes.

Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group ( joint ventures, which includes Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor, L.L.C. Hemlock Semiconductor is a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules. Hemlock Semiconductor began operations in 1961 and has announced more than $4 billion of investments since 2005.

Dow Corning was established in 1943 specifically to explore and develop the potential of silicones.

Learn about our passion for silicon-based technology and why we believe silicone chemistry has the potential to help solve some of the most important challenges facing our world.

Read Silicones & Dow Corning: A window to the future. (6 MB PDF)

Explore highlights from the history of Dow Corning Corporation. (2.1MB PDF)

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Headquartered in Midland, Michigan, USA, Dow Corning Corporation is a truly global company with a worldwide distributor network and nearly 12,000 employees working across the world.

So, no matter where in the world you are located, Dow Corning is well equipped to provide you with a reliable supply of top-quality silicone materials, technical support and customer service.

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