Molecule of the Week
April 14, 2014
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is the simplest member of the silicone polymer family. It is formed by hydrolyzing Me2SiCl2, which is produced from high-purity SiO2 and CH2Cl2 by the Muller–Rochow reaction. The term “silicone” was coined by chemist F. S. Kipping in 1901.
Low–molecular weight PDMS is a liquid used in lubricants, antifoaming agents, and hydraulic fluids. Its use in breast implants is not as popular as it once was because of safety concerns.
At higher molecular weights, PDMS is a soft, compliant rubber or resin. It is used in caulks, sealants, an even Silly Putty. More recently, PDMS resins have been used in soft lithography, a key process in biomedical microelectromechanical systems (bio-MEMS).