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Materials

Fumed silica links Cabot, Dow Corning

Neighboring Kentucky facilities will swap raw materials

by Michael McCoy
June 5, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 23

Credit: Yang Ku/C&EN

In the third iteration of a successful partnership, Cabot Corp. will build an $80 million fumed silica facility in Carrollton, Ky., adjacent to a Dow Corning silicone monomers plant.

Cabot will produce the high-purity silica by reacting oxygen and hydrogen with a chlorosilane by-product provided via pipeline by Dow Corning. In turn, Cabot will send back its hydrochloric acid by-product to be used as a raw material for making methyl chloride. Dow Corning reacts methyl chloride with silicon metal to produce chlorosilanes, the starting material for silicone polymers.

The new plant is expected to open in 2020. Cabot and Dow Corning have a similar symbiotic relationship at facilities in Michigan and Wales. In both cases, Dow Corning also buys fumed silica for making elastomers.

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