Silicone Contamination Testing of Facilities and Ovens

Anderson Materials Evaluation, Inc. provides silicone contamination testing kits for detecting and identifying silicone and other contaminants in facilities and ovens.  We provide our own qualified as silicone-free test kits for the ultra-sensitive measurement of silicone contamination in your facility by means of an XPS analysis detection method.  This test method also allows the determination of the silicone concentration relative to known concentrations causing significant adhesive bonding degradation or other surface wetting and sealing problems. It usually distinguishes sources of the element silicon as those due to each of the following:

  • Silica or glass
  • Silicates
  • Diphenyl siloxane
  • Long chain length dimethyl siloxane (such as in sealants or electronics encapsulants)
  • Medium chain length dimethyl siloxane (such as in pressure-sensitive adhesives)
  • Short chain length dimethyl siloxane (such as in lubricants or mold release agents)
  • Silane coupling agents

The short chain dimethyl siloxanes are usually the cause of airborne silicone contamination and are usually more harmful to adhesive bond strength when they contaminate an adhesive bondline because a given concentration of contaminant commonly covers more surface area and prevents adherend surface wetting by adhesives, sealants, and coatings.

We provide specialized silicone contamination testing kits for the following purposes:

  1. Facility airborne contaminants
  2. Contaminants on surfaces, such as walls, floors, and production equipment
  3. Airborne contaminants in ovens

Each of these silicone contamination test kits is optimized for the detection of silicone contamination and the materials in the kit are tested and validated as free of silicone contamination.  The detection limit for polydimethyl siloxane on the test surface of these kit materials is about 0.007 mg/sq.ft. or about 0.08 mg per square meter.  Significant adhesive bond strength loss often occurs at about 15 times these concentrations, or at about 1 mg per square meter. These test kits can also be used to measure fluorocarbon contamination of surfaces or airborne fluorocarbon contamination.  Tests for some nitrogen organic contaminants are also possible with these test kits.  The detection kits protect the exposure surface from exposure to contaminants during shipment to your facility and back to ours.  They also prevent the exposure surface from being compromised by rubbing against the shipping materials, which would be deleterious to the quantitative analysis of the contaminants picked up by the exposed surface in your facility.

Should you require silicone contamination testing instead by a Soxhlet method such as those procedures often based on Rohr testing methods, we can also provide that with some improvements to make the method somewhat more quantitative.  Nonetheless, the method is usually poor for detecting the small concentrations of silicones often responsible for airborne silicone contamination and it offers little identification of the silicone in comparison to our XPS silicone contamination test method.  Furthermore, it does not always have the sensitivity to detect silicones at concentrations sufficient to cause major adhesive bonding degradation or surface wetting problems.