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Silane Coupling Agents: Techno Brief

Coupling agents are adhesion promoters that are used to provide a stable bond by reducing the interfacial tension between the fibrous or particulate inorganic component and the organic matrix polymer in reinforced and filled plastics. This Coupling Agents guide is designed to help you understand more about the use of silanes as coupling agents in reinforced plastics, focusing on the benefits and main applications.

Glass Fiber and Bead Treatment

Silane-based treatment for glass-reinforced polymers

Silane coupling agents are a critical component of glass-reinforced polymers. The glass is very hydrophilic and attracts water to the interface. Without silane treatment on the glass surface, the bond between the glass fiber and the resin would weaken and eventually fail, making a composite essentially useless.

Silane coupling agents are used in glass treatment (fiber, bead...) for general purpose applications, such as automotive, marine, sporting goods, and construction, as well as for high performance applications in printed circuits boards and aerospace composites.

Glass materials treated with silane coupling agents can be used either in thermosets or in thermoplastics, or any other desired polymer system..

Some of the benefits imparted to glass-reinforced polymers by silanes include:
  • Increased mechanical strength of the composites
  • Improved electrical properties
  • Improved resistance to moisture attack at the interface
  • Improved wet-out of the glass fiber
  • Improved fiber strand integrity, protection and handling
  • Improved resistance to hot solder during fabrication
  • Improved performance in cycling tests from hot to cold extremes

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