Silicones enhance performance in the marine sector
The marine and offshore sectors face major challenges, such as working in increasingly extreme weather conditions and applying stringent Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) regulations. They must also improve performance in very competitive industries, such as shipping and offshore oil & gas exploration and production.
Within the oil industry, silicone antifoams have multiple applications on offshore platforms. For example they are used to prevent the aeration of drilling muds, which would impair their functioning and also to ensure the sealing of bore holes by drilling cements. In gas-oil separators, silicones are used to deal with corrosive seawater which causes foaming that reduces efficiency.
For the shipping industry, Elkem Silicones has developed a patented catalytic technology used in silicone-based antifouling coatings that speed up ships and make them more fuel-efficient. This antifouling coating is also environmentally friendly because it prevents biofouling on wetted surfaces without harming the marine environment. In engine sections, silicone-coated glass fabrics provide insulation and thermal protection.
On leisure crafts, silicones are widely used in sealants, for example in bedding deck fittings, because they are waterproof, flexible and UV and heat resistant. Silicones also enter into special textiles for boat canopies and imitation-leather boat seats.
The Elkem Silicones range of silicones for marine markets includes:
• BLUESIL TCS 7534 A & B: a two-component heat curing liquid silicone elastomer that cures in a polyaddition reaction. All products in the TCS (Textile Coating System) product line are specially engineered for textile coating applications to withstand harsh weather conditions and corrosion.
• BLUESIL SLT 3B: a single-component fast-curing silicone sealant, used in marine hardware for its resistance to joint movements, wide temperature fluctuations and severe weather conditions.
• SILCOLAPSE 140: a non-ionic aqueous emulsion effective in the prevention, control and elimination of foaming in oil & gas extraction.
• CAF 2534: a single-component silicone rubber that cures in contact with ambient humidity, used as a formulation base for treating the fouling release of boat hulls. It has the advantage of being non-toxic, unlike conventional antifouling coatings. It also provides good adhesion for primer coats (epoxy, chlorinated rubber, etc.).