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Putty has been used extensively in glazing for fixing and sealing panes of glass into wooden frames (or sashes), although its use is decreasing with the prevalence of PVC and metal window frames which use synthetic sealants such as silicone. Glazing putty is traditionally made by mixing a base of whiting (finely ground chalk) with linseed oil in various proportions. There are a number of synthetic alternatives such as polybutene based putties, where the polybutene is a low molecular weight oligomer replacing the linseed oil. Butyl rubber is also added to the mixture to provide some strength and flexibility.
Painter's Putty is typically a linseed oil-based product used for filling holes, minor cracks and defacements in wood only.
Putties can also be made intumescent, in which case they are used for firestopping as well as for padding of electrical outlet boxes in fire-resistance rated drywall assemblies. In the latter case, hydrates in the putty produce an endothermic reaction to mitigate heat transfer to the unexposed side.
In woodworking, water-based putties are more commonly used, as these emit very little odour, are more easily cleaned up and are compatible with water-based and latex sealers.
Plumber's putty is waterproof, used to make watertight seals in plumbing.
Pratley's Putty is an adhesive used primarily for steel bonding.
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Certain types of putty also have use in the field of terminal ballistics, where the putty can accurately represent the average density of the human body. As such it can be used, for instance, to test the penetrative power of projectiles, or the stopping power of body armour.
Play putty, such as silly putty, is for children to play with, and often comes in plastic eggs.