I have recently purchased a flat-bed microwave (De'longhi "TM8") and that means it does not have a turntable, which makes it easier to wipe clean and had less external moving parts, which is always a good thing in my opinion. But, that threw up the issue of the base being marred and scratched, where as the glass turntable would have avoided this I now find that I must protect it.
Knowing that silicone is the new thing in the kitchen, that it's a chemically inert element and has had decades of use in many industries, that if it can withstand the oven then it could survive microwave use?
I have a pair of silicone oven gloves and know that they will, for a period of time, protect naked flesh from the immediate heat from a baking tray, but the silicone will retain that heat and so even after putting the tray down it begins to transfer it to ones hands. That heat retention got me thinking about heat spots during and after use - can it damage the microwave over time?
My understanding of how microwaves work is that the microwaves are not hot, rather they rapidly excite molecules in liquids to generate heat and thus cook the food from the inside out. So, how would microwaves interact with silicone, likely not much, but that aside, each baking mat on the market is likely a composite of some description and it is that unknown other element, or bonding agent, that I would be weary of in a cooking environment, if I am correct in assuming the baking mat is a composite product.
I found the company Sasa Demarle which is the oldest provider of silicone bake-ware in the commercial world and have maintained a good reputation for that time. Their simplest product called the "Silpat" (http://silpat.com/silpat.html) comes in several shapes and sizes and I'm sure some here on this forum has used their products, but in scientific terms, can that product be vouched for in regular microwave use?
To be clear I intent to cook meals from base ingredients in the microwave, not just simply heating canned soups, but to cook pork and steam vegetables, it's amazing what can be achieved, and would like to know that a silicone mat, purely for protective use, is not going to affect my heath through daily use over time. Some foods can take more than a few minutes to cook: wholegrain rice for example will take thirty minutes to steam, can a silicone mat handle that?
I know that there is not enough empirical data on general kitchen use of silicone products, but would like to know your thoughts based on science.