Smart Gel - Wacker Chemie AG

Smart Gel

Silicone gel protects the sensitive electronic parts in cars against moisture and corrosion.

Electrification in Cars on the Rise

Silicone gels are an integral part of everyday life. For example, they can be found in aluminum boxes installed under the front passenger seats of many cars. The boxes contain control units for seat belt pretensioners and airbags. Some ten other such microcomputers, also encased in aluminum, travel the roads in almost every car nowadays – most of them located in the engine compartment.

“Modern vehicles contain less and less mechanics, while electrification has increased greatly,” says Jens Lambrecht, global product development manager at WACKER in Burghausen. POWERSIL® silicone gels keep moisture away from the sensitive electronic parts and reliably protect against corrosion. Their advantage is that they are soft and thus create no mechanical stress for the components. This holds true for temperatures between -50 °C and the maximum conceivable operating temperature in the vehicle. Specialty grades can even withstand a temperature range of -100 to +250 °C. No comparable material can do this. “Hard encapsulants, such as epoxy resin, would contract and expand under these conditions and literally crush the sensitive electronic parts,” explains Lambrecht.

In addition, silicones offer processing advantages. The low-viscosity silicone compound can be poured onto circuit boards. Only then does it take on a gel consistency and stick where it is. Expansion at high temperatures, too, can now be controlled, because Prof. Claudi and Wacker Chemie AG have discovered a way to compress silicone gels.