As the second most abundant element on earth, silicon is best known for its wide use in microchips, hence the name ‘Silicon Valley’. The semi-conductive properties of silicon are what make it so popular in the tech industry, but the versatility of this element (when combined with other elements to form silicone – with an ‘e’) also includes heat-resistance, lubrication, protection against moisture, restoration, and the fact that – in small doses – silicone is relatively non-toxic.
So why, then, do some multipurpose lubes (including Q20) boldly state that they are “Silicone Free”? What is it about silicone that should make you question its use in certain applications?
You’ll notice a “Silicone Free” label on every can of Q20
Fortunately, the answer isn’t as sinister as it may sound, and it’s really just a case of making sure that you don’t use a silicone-based product in an automotive body-shop environment.
Naturally, most factories and workshops have cans of multipurpose lube lying around for general jobs and applications, but even the slightest contamination of silicone can wreak havoc in a body shop or a panel-beating factory.
It’s said that as little as one micron beneath a painted surface can cause defects in the paint’s finish. There have even been cases where tradesmen had polished their work boots with a silicone-based product, only to find later that the silicone had gone airborne and ruined the paintwork of several vehicles. To be clear, the silicone isn’t harmful to an already painted surface, the problem arises when there is silicone contamination on the panel before the paint is applied.
The reason why we state that Q20 is “Silicone Free” is merely a note for body-shop specialists and other tradesmen who work with paints, that need assurance that Q20 is safe in these environments. On that note, let’s look at applications where a silicone-based lubricant is the perfect lube for the job…
DIRT & DUST
In terms of benefits, the anti-static properties of silicone are what really stand out. Ordinarily, most oils attract dirt, which means that as time goes by, the oil needs frequent cleaning and reapplication. It also means that most multipurpose oils are not well suited to intricate components that are sensitive to dust.
Because our Q8 Silicone Spray is anti-static, it’s ideal for lubricating stuck tent zips – without attracting dirt and dust.
Many campers will appreciate this quality when they’re trying to free a stuck tent-zip, or even wanting to seal a seam in the fabric of their tent. However, the same anti-static properties apply to other components, too – such as the lubrication of hoists, jacks, locks, latches, switches, and controls that may be sensitive to dust.
A silicone spray is also a great choice for maintaining gym equipment, where moisture and sweat often lead to rapid corrosion. Using a silicone-based lubricant not only keeps the equipment running smoothly and corrosion-free, but it means that there is also less chance of harmful skin contact.
Finally, because silicone is easily absorbed and long-lasting, it is also a great preservative for rubber, plastic, nylon, vinyl… and even certain types of wood.