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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > The Future of Nanotechnology > 4 Uses of Liquid Silicone Rubber in Nanotechnology

Amanda Richter

There have been some exciting breakthroughs in the use of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) throughout the sciences.

April 17th, 2014

4 Uses of Liquid Silicone Rubber in Nanotechnology

LSR is fungus-resistant and nontoxic, and according to Apple Rubber, its resistance to thermal wear makes it a good solution for long-term applications. Let's take a look at four recent developments of liquid silicone rubber in nanotechnology:
Drug Delivery Within Animal Science

The moldability of LSR gives it some promising possibilities within the zoological fields. In a recent article published in the International Journal of Livestock Research, the use of LSR molds to deliver intravaginal hormones to large livestock animals was examined. The hormone to be carried is cured in the liquid silicon that is extruded on a stainless steel metal plate. The dried silicon, now an elastic semisolid, is formed into a coil and placed into the animal's vagina. Because of the low weight and elasticity of the silicon, the retention rate of the device is generally more than 95 percent. These hormone distribution devices are being used in cows, mares and other large agricultural herd animals.
Creating a Gecko Foot

Geckos are amazing creatures that have been studied for centuries, not just by biologists but by material scientists. Geckos have a unique ability to stick to almost any surface, disengage at will, and leave no residue behind. These are highly sought-after characteristics for adhesives. Part of the science of a gecko's adhesion is that its feet are so flat that the atoms of the surface attract the atoms of the gecko's feet at a TITLE-Van der Waal level. Scientists are mimicking these intra-atomic interactions by using LSR as the substrate for fluorine, the most reactive of the naturally occurring elements. By doing this, they have created a strong adhesive that retains 80 percent of its strength after repeated uses, according to the Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology.
Little Tiny Packing Foam

LSR has found its place as the building block of mechanical and biological sciences. It is the stuff into which the scientists put the clever thing. That clever thing may be a chemical, an element or a small machine. Within the field of nanotechnology, one of the difficulties engineers are having is transporting the nanites without breaking them. A packing peanut would be several orders of magnitude to larger for nanite delivery. According to the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, polymer scientists are using LSR to create microbarriers that can safely encase nanotechnology. These nanostructures are flexible tubes or balls with a diameter around one nanometer.
The New Scalpel

The Journal of Medical Devices is reporting the use of silicon elastomers with nitinol as a safer method of angioplasty. The precision-molded device is showing promise in eliminating the dangers associated with the traditional coronary blockage removal techniques. Because the elastic polymers use a recoiling motion, this method has a lower lesion burst pressure, which lessens the risk of pressure damage to the artery.

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