An Overview for the General Reader The fact that silicone rubber boots made those footprints on the moon, and that other silicone polymers made possible the construc- tion and functioning of space suits and space vehicles, has led to the general belief that silicones are very modem materials conjured up to meet the needs of space travel. Actually, though, silicone chemis- try has deep roots in human history, dating from the dawn of the race and extending through all of geology, mineralogy, and the ancient ceramic arts. This little book seeks to put the development of silicone materials in perspective as part of the fascinating involvement of the element silicon in our daily lives, from the stuff the earth and the moon are made of to the modem use of ultra- pure silicon in transistors and computers, and the use of ordi- nary elementary silicon to make silicone rubber, silicone oil, sili- cone resins, and silicon or silicone-containing polishes, drugs, and fragrances. Of course these are not our only connections with silicon.
The natural compounds of silicon and oxygen (the silicates) are the starting materials for making bricks, tile, cement, glass, and a host of modem ceramic products. The widespread usefulness of silicon and its compounds comes about for two reasons: first, there is so much of it, and second, it is so versatile.
1 The Historical Background.- Stone-age Man Goes Modern.- The Birth of Chemistry.- How Much Silicon, and Why.- Structure of the Silicates.- Ceramics.- Fabricated Silicates Today.- Portland Cement and Concrete.- 2 Silicon: The Element.- A Late Bloomer.- Father to Electronics!.- 3 The Discovery of the Other Half of Silicon Chemistry, and Its Consequences.- Early Explorations.- The Emergence of Silicones. Frederic S. Kipping.- Alfred Stock and the Organosilanes.- Summary.- 4 Necessity as the Mother of Invention: The Development of Practical Silicone Polymers in Answer to Industrial Need.- The Problem of Electrical Insulation.- The Corning Contribution.- A Personal Vignette.- The General Electric Contribution.- The Russian Contribution.- The Union Carbide Contribution.- 5 Liberation from Magnesium!.- The Reasoning and the Necessity.- The Birth of the Direct Synthesis.- A Personal Vignette.- Modern Worldwide Production.- Delving into Details.- The Mystery of the Catalyst.- 6 Representative Types of Silicone Polymers and Some of Their Properties.- Silicone Resins.- Silicone Oils.- Silicone Elastomers.- Why Silicones Act as They Do.- An NMR Spectrometerfrom Nothing: A Personal Vignette.- 7 Some Interesting Applications.- Turning away Water.- From Bricks to Boats.- Save the Surface!.- A Personal Vignette.- Foam Only on Your Beer.- The Case of the Missing Razor Blade.- Transformers vs. People.- 8 Bio-organosilicon Chemistry and Related Fields.- How Much Silicon in Us?.- Silicon-substituted Dyes.- Sila-Fragrances and Perfumes.- Pharmacology, Organosilicon Style.- Toxic to What?.- Trojan Horses and Other Oddities.- All That Glitters.- L'envoi.- Appendix: Measuring Things.- Name Index.- Source Index.