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Critical infrastructure supports the key functions necessary to improve society, protect our environment and create a safer and more sustainable future. Numerous industries, including agriculture, communications, defense, energy, health and medicine, technology and transportation, depend on the performance and reliability of our national infrastructure to improve virtually every aspect of our lives.
However, many agree that our infrastructure needs to be modernized. The chemical industry is key to making America’s infrastructure safer and better than before. That’s because our members are developing advanced materials that are used for infrastructure upgrades to make them more sustainable and resilient, and to make them lighter, stronger and less expensive.
For example, silicones are one of the most important and most adaptable materials in the world. Used in products and applications that can make our infrastructure more stable, affordable, and durable. These products include a wide range of sealants, adhesives and protective coatings, are essential to numerous building and construction applications, and are often designed to achieve specific performance functions in each application.
Silicones: protection of the traffic infrastructure
Travel is a major driver of economic development. Silicones are used as sealants in roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, and more. Since the transport infrastructure is exposed to great stress and can be damaged by corrosion, silicones offer protection by enabling strong, permanent and UV-resistant seals even under the worst environmental conditions. Silicones help improve safety by protecting surfaces from erosion by external environmental conditions and by offering better temperature and aging resistance.
Silicones: stop the light
In order to guarantee the reliability of our energy infrastructure, long-term stability and performance of the national electricity grid is necessary. Silicones are used as insulators in underground cables and in transformers for the transmission and distribution of electricity. Silicones can extend the life of underground cables by up to 20 years This helps avoid more expensive options like replacement or tapering. In combination with the low flammability and longevity of power transmissions, silicones help protect the reliability and security of the power supply.
Silicones: revolutionizing construction
Silicone materials have revolutionized construction since they were first introduced to the market in the 1960s. Silicones are widely used to aid our infrastructure in the construction and maintenance of buildings because they provide excellent adhesion to a range of materials including concrete, glass, granite, marble, aluminum, steel and plastics. Building materials made with silicones can withstand deterioration from inclement weather, moisture, or sunlight. Silicones also help make buildings more energy efficient by preventing moisture and hot or cold air from getting through joints and cracks when applied as a sealant. These unique properties make silicones indispensable not only in numerous residential and office buildings, but also in bridges, oil platforms, industrial plants and pipelines. Put simply, millions of buildings and structures rely on silicone for safety, performance and reliability.
Silicones are used in some of the most strenuous yet delicate applications. They can add industrial strength to coatings, sealants, and joints in skyscrapers, bridges, highways, and ocean-going vessels. And silicones generally retain these properties over time, making materials less prone to damage from weathering, aging, temperature or climate fluctuations, and normal wear and tear.
Silicones are also a good example of how chemical manufacturing in the US can help rebuild American infrastructure.