For the past few years, silicone has been a special plastic adopted in the manufacturing of food packaging vessels and most household containers we use.
However, it is not a bad idea to dig deeper into what silicone entails so you can be sure those freaky food containers in your kitchen are not putting you at fire risk.
In this guide, we will explain in detail everything you need to know about silicone as well as discover whether or not silicone is flammable.
What Is Silicone?
Even though silicone contains tiny amounts of silicon, nevertheless, don’t mix it up as the same entity with the element “silicon.” Silicon is just an element that belongs to the metalloid family while silicone is a synthetic plastic material.
Silicone which is also known as polysiloxane is a kind of plastic and a polymer made up of siloxane groups. Moreover, there are various forms of silicone plastic depending on the number of siloxane groups each silicone chain contains.
Owing to this, some silicones can come as a colorless oil, eg, silicones that are used as lubricants. While some can have a rubber-like texture and appearance, eg, silicones used in the manufacture of kitchenware.
Thus, different forms of silicones have a wide range of applications in certain spheres of life. We have silicone oil, silicone grease, silicone resin, silicone rubber or elastomers, silicone caulk, and many more.
On the other hand, you can also use silicone as a thermal insulator since it is not a good conductor. Plus, this plastic material is stable to heat and will behave the same way at any temperature that falls between -148°F to 482°F.
More importantly, silicone does not support the growth of microbes, it is waterproof and it is non-toxic. However, can silicone products catch flames and pose a fire hazard to your residence? Read on to find out.
Is Silicone Flammable?
Under normal conditions, silicone is not considered a flammable material. But when subjected to extremely high temperatures for a long period, say 390°F or 482°F, silicone can catch flames and burn.
Note that most materials such as flammable super glue also behave this way when exposed to a high temperature for a long time. And mind you, silicone will not burn readily just like other flammable substances unless you expose it to high temperatures.
The autoignition temperature for silicone is around 842°F. Meanwhile, this temperature is not easy to come by, since no household or office fire can be that intense.
In a nutshell, if you handle silicone products with the appropriate safety precautions in mind, they are not likely to pose a fire hazard.
Does Silicone Melt?
Unlike most plastics that melt at high temperatures, silicone plastics do not melt easily. Silicones generally do not have a particular melting point and due to this, they remain in their solid form until they undergo combustion.
However, at any extreme temperature between 392°F and 842°F, silicone rubber will lose its mechanical properties gradually and dissociate (that is, it melts).
Additionally, silicone is highly resistant to heat and will not melt in boiling water or hot oil. The temperature of hot oil usually falls in the range of 350°F to 375°F, meanwhile, silicone kitchenware can withstand heat up to 600°F.
Thus, you can successfully use silicone kitchen utensils to heat oil or carry hot oil without panicking about a likely fire outbreak.
- Read more: Is Cork Flammable?
What Happens When You Burn Silicone?
Let’s say you are burning silicone in the presence of air or oxygen. Burning silicone will react with air to give off silicon dioxide (SiO2) which you can also call sand or “silica,” carbon dioxide (CO2), and other gases as byproducts.
Typically, silicone is safe to burn because it does not release toxic gases unlike lithium, and other plastic materials. However, keep in mind that some health hazards might accompany a prolonged exposure to silicon dioxide.
Is Silicone Fire Resistant Or Heat Resistant?
The short answer is yes! Silicone is resistant to both heat and fire to some extent. Plastics made from silicone have some distinct chemical properties that make them unsuitable as conductors of heat.
Moreso, silicone plastics do not catch flames easily, meaning they are somewhat flame resistant. The fire and heat resistant properties of silicone make it a safe and ideal choice for kitchenware.
Is Silicone Caulk Flammable?
No, silicone caulk is not flammable. Moreover, there are different materials used in manufacturing caulks. This is why you need to be very meticulous about the kind of caulk you’re going for.
All caulks made from silicone are non-flammable. But make sure you read the package instructions carefully to ensure you don’t buy a non-silicone caulk that can put you at fire risk.
Is Silicone Sealant Flammable?
Just like most silicone products, silicone sealant is non-flammable. However, if silicone sealant is mixed or used with a flammable solvent-based sealant, silicone sealant might be triggered to catch flames.
What About Silicone Spray?
Except for silicone in its aerosolized form, all other forms of silicone are usually non-flammable. This is because the silicone in aerosols is more exposed to air than other forms of silicone.
Owing to this, they react faster with air and catch flames easily just like fabuloso spray. So, the simple answer is yes, silicone spray is flammable because its constituent is primarily aerosolized silicone.
- Read More: Is xylene flammable?
Silicone is a non-flammable plastic but it can catch flames in the right conditions. Therefore, observe the necessary safety precautions while handling silicone products to prevent a potential fire risk.
Down here are some common and effective safety precautions you should keep in mind while using silicone products:
- Store silicone plastics, rubbers, and kitchenware in well-ventilated areas.
- Keep all silicone products away from sources of naked fires, sparks, infernos, etc.
- Don’t overheat oils or foods in silicone kitchen utensils. This is because once the heat-bearing capacity of a silicone product is exceeded, it can catch flames.
- Silicone sprays are flammable and can even explode in the right conditions. Hence, keep all silicone sprays away from any ignition sources.
Lastly, you can visit here to check out the safety data sheet for silicone.