60 seconds with: Martin Bortenschlager, Wacker Chemie

Smithers Rapra conducted a Q&A sessions with Silicone Elastomer World Summit 2015 speaker Martin Bortenschlager from Wacker Chemie, getting a sneak preview into his presentation for the Barcelona event.

Dr. Martin Bortenschlager, Technical Manager Rubber Solutions, WACKER CHEMIE

1997 – 2002      Studies of Chemistry (focus on polymers) at the Technical University of Munich, graduation in 2002 (diploma)
2003 – 2006      PhD at the institute of macromolecular chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Oskar Nuyken
2006                 Joined WACKER CHEMIE AG as R&D Manager in the Corporate R&D Department.
Since 2011       Technical Manager for silicone elastomers in the European region

Smithers Rapra: Your presentation covers a new and exciting topic, has overcoming the bonding challenges of silicone been on WACKER’s agenda for a while?

Martin Bortenschlager: We see that hard-soft composites are getting more and more important. The bonding of silicone towards metals or other high temperature thermoplasts is quite challenging. WACKER offers both primers and so called self-adhesive silicones, that allow for fully automated processes to produce 2K-parts. However more and more technical requirements arise from the market that force us to further improve existing solutions. 

Smithers Rapra: Your background focusses on research and development, why is this so important for silicone elastomers and polymers?

Martin Bortenschlager: Silicone elastomers are a niche in the elastomer world. As silicones are always used under extreme conditions that often bring the material to its limits it is essential to understand both the physics and the chemistry of silicones to be able to further improve their already outstanding properties.

Smithers Rapra: What does WACKER hope to achieve and what can we see happening over the next few years with regards to the development of silicone elastomers?

Martin Bortenschlager: We see that silicones are a class of material that is definitely in the focus. New potential applications arise almost on a daily basis. The development of silicones is still going on. We believe that by investing in research and development we are able to participate both in existing and future markets. In the future we will see silicones with improved temperature, flame and media resistance as well as some specialities that allow for completely new applications.

Preview into Martin Bortenschlager's presentation: Adhesion of Silicone Elastomers - Basics and Options To Create Excellent Hard-Soft Combinations

Hard-soft composites are getting more and more important in the construction and design of modern functional parts. In a lot of cases, silicones are the material of choice for the soft component due to their outstanding properties. A robust and permanent adhesion between the silicone elastomer and the hard component is often essential in the application of such composites.

Owing to the fact that a huge variety of substrates is available on the market, the bonding of the silicone is often considered as a challenge.

The key to a permanent bonding of silicone elastomers to different substrates is a smart combination of substrate activation and the choice of the right silicone grade. Different physical and chemical surface activation techniques offer a good toolbox to produce composites from a broad variety of substrates. However a basic understanding of the principles of surface activation is crucial to be successful.

Self-adhesive silicone grades, a special class of silicone elastomers, provide excellent bonding to various substrates without prior activation of the substrate. This allows highly automated production processes of hard-soft composites with a very constant quality. This class of material even offers new possibilities in the design of hard-soft composites that are difficult to achieve with conventional silicone systems.