Silicone, also called polysiloxane, is a diverse class of fluids, resins, or elastomers based on polymerized siloxanes, substances whose molecules consist of chains made of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. Their chemical inertness, resistance to water and oxidation, and stability at both high and low temperatures have led to a wide range of commercial applications. Silicones differ from most industrial polymers in that the chains of linked atoms that make up the backbones of their molecules do not contain carbon, the characteristic element of organic compounds.
Silcone is prepared in two principal forms: (1) as room-temperature-vulcanizing (RTV) elastomers, which are low-molecular-weight liquids that are cast or molded into desired shapes and then interlinked at room temperature, and (2) high-temperature-vulcanizing (HTV) elastomers, which are higher-molecular-weight gums that are mixed and processed like other elastomers. Silicone rubbers are usually strengthened by fillers such as silica; other fillers are mixed in to add bulk and colour. Valued for their electrical-insulating properties, chemical stability, and the wide temperature range over which they retain resiliency, silicone rubbers are used mainly in O-rings, heat-resistant seals, caulks, gaskets, electrical insulators, flexible molds, and (owing to their chemical inertness) surgical implants.