Canadian Plastics

New Additives: Handfuls of Innovation

FOAMING & CLARIFYING AGENTS

March 1, 2007   By Mark Stephen, Associate Editor



FOAMING & CLARIFYING AGENTS

A nucleating/clarifying agent for polypropylene (PP) has been introduced by Ciba Specialty Chemicals. Derived from a new chemistry platform for clarifiers, Irgaclear XT 386 is a high-efficiency clarifier that enables see-through clarity for PP products.

According to Ciba, Irgaclear XT 386 is particularly well-suited for PP random copolymer for thin-wall injection molding of transparent food containers; injection molding of houseware articles such as food storage containers; and extrusion and injection stretch blow molding of bottles. “The additive has been designed to tackle issues currently experienced with clarified PP such as plate-out formation, blooming and odor formation,” Phillip Walter, global market head, nucleators and clarifiers at Ciba, said.

Clariant Masterbatches’ new Hydrocerol chemical foaming additives can reduce resin consumption and weight up to 25 per cent while reducing cycle times for injection molding and blow molding and increasing line speeds for extrusion processes.

Hydrocerol also improves surface appearance for packaging applications, especially polyolefin-based containers and closures, Dennis Haff, Clariant Masterbatches additives product manager, said.

FLAME RETARDANTS

Responding to environmental concerns and heightened fire-safety standards, Chemtura Corporation (Crompton/ Great Lakes) is offering Firemaster 600 and Firemaster 602, two new flame retardants for flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) that are approximately 10 per cent more efficient than the company’s earlier Firemaster 550 and Firemaster 552 additives.

Designed primarily for use in cushioning for furniture, mattress and automotive applications, the additives exhibit scorch resistance, minimal effect upon foam processing, physical properties and cigarette smoulder as well as a favourable environmental profile, Chemtura said. “Both products significantly increase efficiency while maintaining the physical property performance and favourable environmental profile of the Firemaster 550 family of products,” according to Anne Noonan, Chemtura’s vice president and general manager of flame retardants and brominated performance products.

Clariant Pigments & Additives Division has introduced three new flame retardants in its Exolit series of additives. Exolit AP is an intumescent flame retardant based on ammonium polyphosphate (AP). When used in thermoset compound systems in combination with aluminum trihydrate, the amount of the filler can be reduced by up to 70 per cent compared to conventional non-halogenated flame retardants, Clariant said.

The company’s Exolit RP, based on red phosphorus, allows molders to reach fire protection classification UL 94 V-O without major impact on mechanical or electrical factors.

And Exolit OP, based on newly developed phosphinates, is tailored to the requirements of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the electrical and electronics industries, primarily in the application fields of glass-fiber reinforced polyamides and polyester.

Additionally, Exolit OP additives have low density, making them suitable for lightweight construction composites, the company said.

PROCESS AIDS/ MOLD RELEASES

A new internal mold release, designed for in-mold coatings used in RIM (reaction injection molding) processes, has been released by Axel Plastics Research Laboratories. According to the company, the addition of just one per cent of its new MoldWiz INT-220IMC (by weight) to polyurethane (PU) in-mold coatings is sufficient to cleanly release these coatings from steel tooling and to significantly enhance release from composite tooling.

A proprietary condensation product of synthetic resins, glyceride, organic fatty acid derivatives and modified fatty acids, MoldWiz INT-220IMC is suitable for aliphatic or modified aliphatic coatings that are typically applied by manual or robotic spray systems to molds operating in the range of 150F/C. In these applications, the additive remains homogenous in solution and has exhibited minimal or low impact on dry time; and parts molded with the product were easily demolded in as little as three minutes and offered a demolding process window of as much as three hours.

New in the line-up for Croda Canada is IncroMax PS, a food-approved additive designed specifically for use in polystyrene (PS). According to Croda, the product decreases surface friction and mold release force by up to 40 per cent, improves packing and denesting of molded parts, reduces scratch while enhancing surface quality and has no adverse effects on the physical properties of PS.

Arkema’s new Plastistrength 810 is an acrylic-based copolymer designed for use with polycarbonate (PC) or acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS). Plastistrength 810 can be substituted to any of the organic fatty esters currently used as mold release agents, and allows PC/ABS to be compounded and injected with no deposit in the tooling in a smooth process.

“In addition, the compound is designed to improve other additives’ dispersion and stabilize the matrix morphology owing to its high molecular weight entanglement mechanism,” according to Dr. Philippe Hajji, of Arkema’s plastic additives technical service division.

Struktol’s new JV 46F is a processing aid designed to improve processing behaviour for a wide range of elastomers like NR, SBR, S-SBR, and EPDM (except for halogenated elastomers).

According to the company, JV 46F is particularly well-suited for applications in extruded compounds, but can also be used on transfer molding and injection molding. Available off-white to beige pastel, it improves dispersion of fillers and has a beneficial influence on batch-to-batch uniformity, and also stabilizes viscosity during extended storage times.

UV STABILIZATION

The use of various UV stabilizers to provide durability to outdoor applications has made significant advances over the past decades, and remains in the development spotlight today.

Ciba has a new stabilizer that permits PP to be both UV-resistant and flame-retardant, good news for designers of stadium seating and other outdoor applications. Tinuvin FR demonstrated immediate self-extinguishing properties when a heat source was removed, Ciba said, and outdoor exposure testing showed no colour change or surface degradation after 300 kLy. The system can be combined in different ratios to meet light stability requirements and international standards and classifications for the flammability of plastic materials.

And Cytec Industries offers Cyasorb UV3808PP5 UV stabilizer for PP film applications and for agricultural film applications where resistance to agricultural chemicals is particularly desirable. “The product offers excellent compatibility with polyolefins with no observed blooming,”said Ron Fisk, sales manager, composites, plastics and rubber at Univar, Cytec’s Canadian distributor. “Other product attributes include low colour contribution and low volatility.”

PIGMENTS/ COLOURANTS

The Shepherd Color Company has introduced a new addition to its Arctic infrared reflecting pigment line. The company’s Black 10P922 can be used in a wide variety of plastics applications where durability is key.

The extreme demands of pigment performance when processing engineering polymers can be overcome with the use of Black 10P922, the company said, because of the product’s outstanding heat stability and good weathering performance.

Additionally, the additive is easily dispersed and possesses wide compatibility with all polymer types.

The new collection of Fantasia colourants and special effects from Bayer MaterialScience are designed specifically for use in medical applications.

Select colours, derived through Bayer’s technology for compounded resins, meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for biocompatibility (FDA-modified 10933, Part 1). Plus, they are compatible
Bayer’s medical-grade Makrolon PC resins.

Colours include six opaque white samples varying from cool to warmer tones; three opaque blue samples in light, medium and dark hues; two transparent blue samples in aqua and dark blue; opaque teal; and samples of transparent grey, yellow, orange, red, green and violet.

Lanxess Corporation’ has made available its Macrolex inorganic colourants, for applications with stringent purity requirements such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and children’s toys. Macrolex colourants are available in a number of forms, including microgranules with hollow spheres that can be easily compressed and evenly distributed and incorporated into plastic.

Also, the company said, the product is easy to meter precisely and doesn’t clump, allowing the customer to completely empty its containers.

In addition, Lanxess is offering its new Colortherm and Bayferrox lines of UV- and weather-resistant inorganic colourants, designed for wood-plastic composites (WPC). These iron oxide and chrome oxide pigments, respectively, distribute evenly into the WPC material, and can withstand temperatures up to 300C without changing colour.

Ampacet has introduced its new Formula X PET masterbatches, which can be used in stretch blow molding, injection molding and thermoforming without the effort and expense of pre-drying. Formula X masterbatches allow for proper dispersion of colours and special effects pigments, according to the company, and also for pearlescent and frost effects, which have traditionally been difficult to achieve with PET.

Additionally, the masterbatches can also reduce such process issues as feed throat clogging and screw slippage.

BIOPOLYMERS

Driven by the twin goals of rising oil prices and growing environmental consciousness, the development of additives based on biodegradable carriers is beginning to receive attention from additives suppliers.

In an effort to speed adoption of polylactic acid (PLA), a corn-based polymer, DuPont has unveiled its Biomax Strong, a petrochemical additive that increases the toughness of PLA for packaging applications.

To date, DuPont said, PLA’s relative brittleness and lack of durability when compared to other plastics has hindered adoption of the polymer, which is biodegradable when composted industrially, even though it’s considered a sustainable alternative to conventional plastics. Compared to other tougheners, Biomax Strong improves the transparency, and therefore the aesthetics, of the finished PLA containers without impacting the resin’s biodegradability, the company continued.

And BASF’s Joncryl ADR biopolymers are multifunctional acrylic and styrene-acrylic polymers offering very low molecular weight and high functionality.

Joncryl ADR chain extenders readily react with natural polyesters in simple processing equipment, such as extruders and injection molding machines, reverting hydrolytic degradation and increasing their molecular weight and mechanical properties.

The company’s newest grade, called ADR 4370S, has very high functionality, BASF said, and is used for extrusion and injection molding grades as well as off spec, regrind and recycled material.

OTHER ADDITIVES

Milliken Chemical has developed a nucleating agent that works effectively and efficiently in polyethylene (PE), which, the company said, has never before utilized nucleation on a commercial scale. Target applications for the company’s new Hyperform HPN-20E include monolayer and coextruded film for food packaging, agricultural applications and overwrap films. “Polyethylene is a very difficult material to successfully nucleate and HPN-20E is the most efficient chemistry to achieve this,” Martin Horrocks, Milliken’s global market manager, polyethylene additives, said.

New Book Explores Practical Use of Additives in Plastics

For those whose experience with chemistry began and ended with the accidental blowing up of a beaker in science class, the dos and don’ts of using additives can be difficult to understand.

Fortunately, after 30 years spent writing about and working with additives — including 15 years as head of polymer analysis research at a major international polymer producer — the researcher Roy Crompton has distilled his own, more considerable, experience into a new textbook intended for use by plastics producers and other user industries.

Crompton’s Determination of Additives in Polymer and Rubbers examines antioxidants and other polymer additives during polymer processing and a product’s life. An up-to-date survey of the present state of knowledge of polymer additive systems, the book is available in both soft and hard cover from Rapra Technology, and can be ordered online from www.polymer-books.com.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Plastics (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Join Canadian Plastics at Booth 103 every day during Plast-Ex at 2:15 p.m. for an informative and entertaining 15 minute “Introduction to Plastics” given by our popular technical editor and “View from the Floor” columnist Jim Anderton.


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