J. Franklin Hyde
Born Mar 11 1903 - Died Oct 11 1999
Method of Making a Transparent Article of Silica
Patent Number(s) 2,272,342
A periodic chart that Franklin Hyde once designed had the element silicon placed directly in the center - not surprising, since Hyde’s work with glass-related technology and his role in launching the silicone industry all derive from silicon.
Silicone fluids resist decomposition from heat and water, so they are used often as lubricants, hydraulic fluids and water repellents. Hyde worked extensively on silicone rubbers, which are extremely resistant to aging, sunlight, moisture, temperature extremes and many chemicals. They are used often as caulks, gaskets, electrical insulators, O-rings and heat-resistant seals.
Hyde’s ultra-pure glass has many uses, including spacecraft windows, telescopes, and precision lenses for manufacturing equipment. It also provided the bases for the semiconductor and fiber optics industries.
Hyde also discovered how to convert silicon-containing compounds into silicones. Now, almost all major industries rely on the silicone industry to supply a wide range of important materials.
After completing postdoctoral work at Harvard University in 1930, Hyde worked at Corning Glass, attempting to create a pure, stable glass that could be used in devices like telescopes. Working with liquid silicon tetrachloride, Hyde discovered how to process it into a fused silica glass – the first new way of making glass in more than 3,000 years.
Hyde’s work led to the 1943 founding of Dow Corning Corporation, a joint venture between Corning Glass Works and The Dow Chemical Company formed specifically to produce silicone products. Midland, Michigan-based Dow Corning today has 26 manufacturing locations around the world.