Silicones Deliver Durability and Performance in Harsh Environments
May 1, 2009
Dow Corning® window-sealant technology is helping protect the new zero-emission Princess Elisabeth polar research station, which opened in April in Antarctica to study climate change.
The €120 million ($26 million) science station is completely energy self-sufficient and aims to have no carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the Belgian-based International Polar Foundation that runs the base. The station is constructed to conserve energy through various means, including energy-saving windows made possible by Dow Corning and microorganism technology that allows water to be re-used up to five times. Power and hot water are generated by wind turbines on a nearby mountain and solar panels mounted to the building’s structure.
“In today’s volatile climate, we can have hurricanes one day and severe floods the next,” says Jean-Paul Hautekeer, European construction director. “Dow Corning silicones are virtually unaffected by weather - rain, snow, humidity, ozone, temperature variation or the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays - and can make building what we may think is impossible possible.”
The same silicone science from Dow Corning used at the Princess Elisabeth research station is protecting people and property around the globe. Take the following applications, for example.
The moon. Even with average temperatures of -150° - 100°C, astronauts were able to walk on the moon’s surface confidently and comfortably - up to 20 hours, in one case - due to the extreme temperature capabilities and flexibility of Dow Corning silicone rubber boots.
Burj Dubai Tower. Presently the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai Tower presented developers with many technical and natural challenges due to its location and elevation. Contractors chose Dow Corning silicone sealants, which offer an insulating solution for glass that withstands the intense heat of the desert, extreme temperature fluctuations, seismic activity, high winds and violent sandstorms.
Noble Drilling Corp. Specially formulated Molykote®-brand silicone lubricants cut the equipment fail rate at a Texas oil-drilling facility in half. Silicone lubricants are suited for many industrial applications in which extreme temperatures combine with contaminants to cause many other lubricants to fail.
Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Connecting Xining, the capital of northwest China’s Qinghai Province, and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, this railway operates in severe conditions, including extremely low temperatures, sand and snow storms, harsh terrain, and high altitudes. To ensure reliability and safe operation, Dow Corning liquid silicone rubber was used as the protective product for cable accessories.
About Dow CorningDow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, the company offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and Xiameter® brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are made outside the United States.
For more information, visit www.dowcorning.com/content/publishedlit/62-1465-01.pdf.