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How to dissolve Silicone?

How to dissolve Silicone?

(OP)
My friend has a boat that a previous owner sealed all the joints with Silicone and finger rub.  It looks very tacky and he would like to remove the Silicone.  Is there a solvent that will dissolve it or at least cause it to release?

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

I don't think it's commercially available anymore, but the "original formula" Scotchguard fabric waterproofer contained a type of fluorocarbon solvent that caused silicones to release.  NASA found out about this the hard way, when trying to waterproof space shuttle tiles (the tiles are attached to the underside of the shuttle using a type of silicone adhesive).  That tidbit comes from an old structures prof. at the U of Wash.

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

Silicone is thermoset so it will not dissolve. Hydrocarbon solvents will cause it to soften and swell which may make it easier to remove but the hard part is keeping the solvent in contact with the silicone long enough to be absorbed before it evaporates. You might try painter's naphtha on a rag and cver it with poly film to prevent evaporation. In the end you will probably find it is easiest to just peel and scrape.

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

metman,

silicone is stubborn stuff.

if you found a solvent that could shift it, would you want to be near that solvent? inside a boat?

nah, scrape and peel

if it just looks tacky, how about a cover it with a strip of fibreglass tape?

J.

J.

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

(OP)
Thanks for all the replies.

My friend found Scothguard Fabric Protector at WalMart containing a  fluorocarbon for about $6 so will try it.

The boatlife product looks like another possibility.

JOM:  "if you found a solvent that could shift it, would you want to be near that solvent? inside a boat?"  Thanks for the thought but this is exterior.  Still he will want to go carefully.  I suppose rubber gloves would be little help maybe couonterproductive?

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

Watch out with the Scotchgard products as some are made to prevent the soiling of fabric and are extremely hard to remove.  You could get into a situation where nothing else will stick to area where you have cleaned.

We apply it to a synthetic material and after it dries the only thing that will remove it is boiling toluene.

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

Please DON'T try the currently available Scotchguard.  The solvent formula used now is not the same as the old stuff, so I don't know if it would work, and as unclesyd points out, you may not be able to get anything else to stick there.

RE: How to dissolve Silicone?

Dichloromethane makes some silicones swell and weakens their adhesion to the substrate. It also attacks epoxy and many other organic materials which are normally fairly inert. Nasty stuff -  be careful.

----------------------------------
  I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy it...

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