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Posted by John Odom on November 30, 1999 at 10:49:21:

I am sure many of you will think this is irrevelant, but please indulge this old chemistry teacher. I think it is no harder to use proper terminology than not. I am desperately trying to learn the proper art terminology, perhaps you will want to learn the proper chemical terminology of the materials we use.

The problem with some terms is that they are so widly confused many don't know which is which. One of the most widely misused and confused set of words is the set: silicon, silicone, silica and silicate. Even sellers of various materials incorrectly use these words in describing their products.

I'll try to clarify.

Silicon is the name of the element. All of the above contain silicon but in different forms. Silicon-Bronze is a proper use of this term because the element silicon is mixed with copper to form the alloy.

Silicones are carbon compounds that have a silicon atom bonded to an oxygen by a double bond. These compounds are used in rubbers, paints, oils etc. Silicone rubber moulding material is a proper use of the term as is silicone breast enhancement.

Silica is a name for silicon dioxide, commonly seen as sand. silica is used in ceramic shell production as is zirconia in some cases. (zirconium dioxide). Silica flour is very fine ground-up sand.

Silicates are Silicon sompounds at least one element other than silicon and oxygen. Sodium silicate or "waterglass" is a silicate used oin the foundry with carbon dioxide to make bond moulds and cores in one process.

I hope this is helpful and not insulting. I love this forum and the people on it.

I spent some of the Thanksgiving holiday in the foundry with six kids.

John Odom

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