Silicone is a synthetic elastomer (technical name for rubber) derived from the complex processing of silica or quartz. It is a non-organic material in that its molecular “backbone” is made up of bonded Silicon and Oxygen atoms, rather than the organic model, which is Carbon – Carbon. In part due to this lack of hydrocarbons, silicone is not flammable. It also will not melt under a flame, but please don’t try this, it will still turn to ash and harm your toy. It is also the non-organic nature of Silicone that makes it so prefered by most toy aficionados.
Silicon (without the “e”) is the second most abundant element on the earth, after oxygen. Silicon is not found in the pure form in nature as it has a strong affinity for oxygen and readily forms oxides with it. The process involved in deriving the Silicon from these oxides such as silicon ore, quartz, quartzite and silica is one that is energy dependant.
To get Silicone to turn from a flowing substance to its solidified, final rubber state a catalyst is added which then triggers the curing process or ‘vulcanization’ as it is called.
Because of cured silicone’s relatively simple chemical make-up and resistance to moisture and oils it displays exceptional biocompatibility and is consequently widely used in the medical field. Please don’t confuse the silicone horrors of early breast implants with the silicone used to produce my toys and any other silicone toys for that matter. There are 100’s of different types of silicones created for many different purposes from cosmetic, to food, bio implants, industrial and now….toys.