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Industry expert Tony O'Lenick asks: What's the difference between dimethicone and alkyl dimethicone? Rick Vrckovnik of Siltech LLC reponds.
Dimethicones, otherwise known as silicone fluid or polydimethylsiloxane fluid, are silicone homo-polymers. They are non-reactive and available with varying molecular weights. The products generally are sold by viscosity, which is determined by molecular weight. The structure is shown below.
Dimethicone polymers are liquids and are not soluble in water or oil. In pure compounds, the viscosity of the dimethicone varies directly with the value of “x.” Dimethicone exhibits good thermal stability and low surface tension.
In the personal care industry, dimethicones are widely used as conditioners in shampoos. Dimethicone provides skin protection and when used in this application are considered drugs.