Dow Corning

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Dow Corning Corp.
Joint Venture
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1943
Headquarters Midland, Michigan
Key people
Robert Hansen, CEO & President
Products Speciality Chemicals, silicon derived polymers
Revenue $6.12 billion (2012)[1]
Number of employees
12,000 [2]
Slogan We Help You Invent the Future

Dow Corning is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, USA, and is an equally owned joint venture of Dow Chemical and Corning formed in 1943. Dow Corning specializes in silicone and silicon-based technology, and is the largest silicone product producer in the world.[3]


In 1942, moisture in aircraft engines and the formation of corona discharge from aircraft electrical systems at high altitudes made high-altitude flight almost impossible. Shailer Bass developed Dow Corning's first product, a simple silicone grease (Dow Corning #4 Compound) that solved the problem.

Dow Corning was formally established in 1943 specifically to explore the potential of silicones. Dr. E. C. Sullivan was named president, and Dr. William R. Collings was named general manager in 1943. Dr. Collings later became president from 1954 until 1962. From 1967 to 1971 William C. Goggin was president and director, who is also credited for developing the multidimensional organization concept at Dow Corning.[4][5]

A large, majority-owned subsidiary of Dow Corning Corporation is the Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation.[3] Founded in the 1960s before the computer revolution, it is still one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-purity polycrystalline silicon, which is sold in varying purity grades for use in both semiconductor silicon wafer manufacture and photovoltaics applications as solar cells.

On November 13, 2014, Dow Chemical's CEO Andrew N. Liveris revealed in a presentation to investors that Corning Incorporated intended to exit the joint venture of 71 years, citing other priorities.[6]


Products developed over the years include silicone sealants, adhesives, silicone mold-making rubbers, lubricants, release agents for cookware, sound-absorbing silicone, leather treatment, skin care lotion, preceramic polymers for high temperature applications, liquid silicone dry cleaning solvent, high-purity silicon wafers for use in semiconductors and solar panels, as well as silicone waxes. Xiameter is an online-only distributor of Dow Corning products.[3]

Breast implants[edit]

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, class-action lawsuits[7] claimed that Dow Corning's silicone breast implants caused systemic health problems. The claims first centered around breast cancer and then migrated to a range of autoimmune diseases, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and various neurological problems. This led to numerous lawsuits beginning in 1984 and culminating in a 1998 multibillion-dollar class action settlement. As a result, Dow Corning was in bankruptcy protection for nine years, ending in June 2004.

A number of large, independent reviews of the scientific literature, including the Institute of Medicine in the United States, have subsequently found that silicone breast implants do not cause breast cancers or any identifiable systemic disease.[8][9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dow Corning fast facts (June 13, 2013)
  2. ^ "Five things to know about Michigan-based Dow Corning Corp.". 
  3. ^ a b c Robert Westervelt (June 24, 2011). "Dow Corning". Chemical Week. Retrieved 2015-02-10. Dow Corning, a 50–50 jv between Dow Chemical and Corning, is the world’s largest silicones producer and has a controlling 62.5% stake in Hemlock Semiconductor (Hemlock, MI), the world’s leading producer of polysilicon used in semiconductor and solar wafer production. ... 
  4. ^ Jay R. Galbraith, and Daniel A. Nathanson. Strategy implementation: The role of structure and process. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1978.
  5. ^ Russell Lincoln Ackoff. "The Multidimensional organization," in: The Democratic Corporation, 1994, p. 169
  6. ^ "Dow Says Corning Wants to Exit 71-Year-Old Venture". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  7. ^ – $2.4bn breast-implant offer, 1997-08-26
  8. ^ Gina Kolata (June 21, 1999). "Panel Confirms No Major Illness Tied to Implants". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-10. An independent panel of 13 scientists convened by the Institute of Medicine at the request of Congress has concluded that silicone breast implants do not cause any major diseases. 
  9. ^ Chronology of silicone breast implants. Frontline
  10. ^ Colas, André; Curtis, Jim (2004). Biomaterials Science, Second Edition: An Introduction to Materials in Medicine. Elsevier, Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-582463-7. 

External links[edit]