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"Let there be sealants!"

Posted by Sam Morey on

If you read the Silicone Depot blog on a regular basis, you know that sealants are used in an incredibly wide range of products that we enjoy every day in the modern world. But do you know the story of Silicone Sealants? Read on to be enlightened! 

Early History

Sealants have been around for a very long time, dating to the earliest human histories even before civilization. Used to block out water, insects, and wind, sealants are present in the earliest structures built by humans. The earliest sealants were made of mud and straw or grass, clay, tar, plant resins, and natural gums. These could provide a water-tight seal that can help preserve food and keep people warm and dry inside their structures.

As civilization developed and housing structures became more complex, so did the sealants used in architecture and home use. Proper use of sealants could help a community thrive through times of difficult weather and flooding, allowing full civilizations to form and advance.

In the 17th century, people began to seal windows with a glazing putty made with linseed oil and chalk. This advancement paved the way for other putties and wax sealants that, although made from different materials, paved the way for what we call caulk today. During this time, sealants were mainly used for home use and in construction or home improvements, especially to seal out the weather, pests, and to pack in holes and cracks that could potentially do a lot of damage.

Modern History

After the Industrial Revolution and decades of great technological advancement in the western world, polymers came into development in the 1920s. These synthetic materials proved to be effective sealants and include types such as acrylic polymers, butyl polymers, and silicone polymers. These products quickly caught on and became available to the general public within a decade of their initial invention.

Silicone itself was a product of a joint venture between Corning Glass and General Electric when both companies were researching very heat-resistant glass materials. Later in 1943, Corning Glass would combine with DOW Chemical to produce a new line of silicone products and would compete with other silicone manufacturers around the world.

Sealants Today

Today, silicone sealants are among the most popular sealants because of its ability to withstand harsh weather (as well as changes in weather), and it’s unmatched waterproofing qualities. It is also very cost-effective to produce and widely available. This makes it an ideal substance that is used in the auto industry, in kitchen and bakeware, in shoes and clothing, as well as in home maintenance and repair. Indeed, it’s challenging to think of an industry that does not employ the use of silicone sealant.