Grease is a thick and oily substance usually used as a lubricant. As a true sample of grease, it must contain either oil and/or other lubricants usually mixed using a thickener, usually a soap so as to form a solid or semisolid substance.
Greases come in different types depending on the manufacturing and preparation processes. The two main ones that most people confuse are the dielectric grease and silicone grease with some interchanging each for the other. In light of this, you can read through and get the notable differences between them.
What is Dielectric Grease?
Dielectric grease is some translucent substance that is used to seal electrical conductors to prevent dust, sand, dirt, or other foreign materials from sticking to the conductor. It also prevents the conductor from transferring a current between the contact points. Also, the dielectric grease blocks moisture, preventing corrosion in the process.
Since the grease is translucent, some light passes through it causing distortion. It is usually grey in appearance.
Applications and Uses of Dielectric Grease
The dielectric grease’s main uses are lubrication, insulation, and protection of hardware from natural elements and foreign materials. It can also be used for extra applications, but it is mostly used in spark plug protection so as to allow the plugs to slide into their ceramic containers and protect it from compromising foreign objects. In general, the grease is used in any situation where electrical components such as processors, cables, or terminals come into contact with moisture.
What is Silicone Grease?
Silicone grease is a waterproof grease that is prepared by combining silicone oils with a thickener. Usually, the silicone oil is polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and the thickener used is usually amorphous fumed silica. With this formulation, the silicone grease comes out as a white viscous paste with exact properties that are dependent on the proportion and type of the components.
Applications and Uses of Silicone Grease
Silicone grease is used mostly in industries, chemical laboratories, and several other consumer areas. In industries, it is used to lubricate and preserve rubber parts that include O-rings. Since it does neither swells nor softens rubber, it is used in place of greases that are hydrocarbon-based. It also functions better as a lubricant and corrosion-inhibitor for such purposes that need a bit of a thicker lubricant.
In chemical laboratories, silicone grease is used mainly as a provisional sealant as well as a lubricant to interconnect ground glass intersections.
Other uses include daily use of silicone-based lubricants by consumers. Such uses include in applications that the users believe other lubricants that include petroleum jelly may damage some products such as gaskets and latex rubber. The grease may also be useful in lubricating pen filling threads and mechanisms especially the fountain models.
Also, it can be used for sealing and the preservation of O-rings in, for example, plumbing, flashlights, air rifles, and waterproof watches. The common use is the lubrication of threads in water submergible flashlights that are used for spearfishing and diving. The reason why it is used for waterproofing is that of its thick body and the fact that it can’t dissolve in water unlike other liquids and most spirits.
For household uses, the common ones are lubricating shower heads, door hinges, threads on the garden hose, and bolts threads.
Possible Similarities Between Dielectric and Silicone Grease
- The two grease types do not conduct electricity.
- They are also made to withstand high temperatures.
- They are both used for lubrication purposes in different fields.
- Both greases do not dissolve in water.
Differences Between Dielectric Grease and Silicone Grease
The main differences between the two include:
The dielectric grease is a translucent substance used to seal electrical conductors and protect them from dust, sand, dirt, or other foreign materials that might stick to the conductor. The silicone grease, on the other hand, is a waterproof grease that is prepared by combining silicone oils with a thickener and used to lubricate and preserve rubber parts such as O-rings.
Cost of Dielectric Grease Vs. Silicone Grease
The dielectric grease is relatively pricey owing to the nature of its uses while the silicone grease is relatively cheaper.
Dielectric grease does not conduct electricity and stays pliable (it does not cure), while silicone grease does not conduct electricity either but cures to a hard form.
The silicone grease is relatively thick while the dielectric one is less thick.
Dielectric Grease Vs. Silicone Grease: Comparison Table
Summary of Dielectric Grease Vs. Silicone Grease
Upon checking several brands of dielectric grease, you might realize that most of them are based on silicone grease. That would further make the selection and differentiation process problematic. However, with some knowledge of Chemistry with you, it would be easier to identify which is dielectric and which is silicone grease. Also, if you are in the automobile industry, it would be easier for you to identify them too since, for example, the dielectric grease is used there mostly on spark plugs.