Humans are always looking for ways to make their existence easier. Thanks to technological advances, they have created tools that help them make their tasks faster and more efficiently. This matter has also improved the way we behave, understand the world around and even have fun and recreate ourselves.
One of those ways is cooking. For those of us for whom cooking is more than a hobby, we know that making desserts is pretty much a passion.
Beautifying desserts is elemental when it comes to the art of cooking, and to decorate them properly, we need the right utensils. Here’s where silicone molds come into play.
However, silicone molds aren’t only used to decorate desserts, but for a whole bunch of other applications in the industry. That’s why the technology used to change these molds since the 19th century has changed a lot of times –and them utensils with it.
Silicone in Our Everyday Lives
First of all, what is silicone? This material is a synthetic compound derived directly from plastic which has a wide variety of uses.
English chemist, Frederic Kipping was a pioneer in the study of the applications of this compound, and from his finding, we have succeeded to know its chief properties –like withstanding large amounts of heat.
That’s why nowadays is used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, insulating materials, medicine, and of course, in kitchen utensils.
Important Properties of Silicone:
Silicone has the following characteristics:
- It is found in rocks and minerals in nature.
- It is chemically stable over a wide range of temperatures.
- It has very low toxicity.
- It is resistant to oxygen, ozone, and ultraviolet (UV) light.
- It is a good electrical insulator.
- It does not allow microbiological beings to grow.
- It is very resistant to high pressures.
What are Silicone Molds made of?
Silicone molds are made in different ways. Some manufacturing processes use different types of silicone, yet the two most commonly used methods to mold them are:
- High Consistency Rubber (HCR): The silicone consistency resembles peanut-butter. This type of silicone is molded in two ways: 1) The material is placed inside a press until the product has the desired shape; 2) The silicone is poured directly into a metal mold until it cools down. This second technique is the most commonly used today.
- Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR): The silicone’s consistency resembles honey. There are three different ways to mold the silicone: 1) Pouring the silicone around other products that were previously made. This creates a single joint piece with a silicone cover; 2) “Two-shot silicone thermoplastic molding” combines the two parts of the process described in the first process into one. It creates a single piece with a thermoplastic material in conjunction with the silicone. This means the silicone and the other metals are mixed into the structure of the material; 3) “Micro-molding” allows us to create small pieces of silicone for instruments that require a lot of precision.
Silicone is, indeed, very complicated to handle yet there are many ways to mold it. However, this doesn’t stop this tricky compound from having a long list of applications across the industry.
Applications of Silicone Molding Technology
- Sealing: Silicone works as a sealer since it is capable of withstanding high pressures. In many cases, it is used to join glass plates. Thus, it has uses in the manufacture of aquariums, the union of windscreens for automobiles and the adhesion of many other articles.
- Automotive Industry: There are multiple uses of the compound in this area, for example, brake lubricant and insulation for spark plug wires use silicone lubricants, and silicone rubber also works to seal airbags. Plates of silicone are also used for many parts of the engine and the transmission systems.
- Coating: Many fabrics and objects are coated with silicone layers to create stronger and water-resistant materials.
- Medicine: Silicone has many uses as surgical implants and some prostheses.
- Cleaning: Liquid silicone works as a replacement for alcohol.
- Electronics: Electronic compounds are sometimes wrapped in silicone to encapsulate them and increase their stability.
- Fire Extinguisher: Silicone foam works like a good fire cutter.
- Health Care: Many cosmetics, shampoos, hair fixers, and creams contain silicone compounds.
- In the Kitchen, as there are molds of all sizes and shapes that allow decorating desserts with specific figures.
- Others, such as oils, equipment parts, connectors, and more.
To summarize, silicone is a very versatile material that has a lot of applications. This is the product of many years of research and technological advances. Thanks to these advances, we can create and synthesize this material so efficiently.
If all this sounds complicated, you should not worry. Although it is necessary sometimes, the use of advanced technology to create silicone molds is not always required. In fact, it’s possible to create our own silicones molds at home! So we have prepared a guide on how to make these.
A Guide to DIY Silicone Molds
You will need:
- Liquid soap
- Commercial construction silicone
Now follow these steps:
- Fill a bowl with water in such a way that you can put your whole hand in it.
- Add the liquid soap to the bowl and stir it up a little.
- Add the construction silicone liquid to the container and start mixing it.
- Soon, dip your hand in the mixture and start squeezing it. It will harden into a dough, which you can remove from the container. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Make a ball with the mixture once it has hardened and put it on a flat surface. Press the element you want to mold directly onto the dough and wait for it to take its shape. You will now have your new silicone mold finished.
However, these creations will never meet the same quality or durability of the molds you can get in stores. If there is a figure that is too difficult to find, sure this guide presents a last-resource solution.