Saturday, December 28, 2013

DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA Resin Replaces Metal in Ford's Engine Cooling Component

The new Ford 3.5L and 3.7L engine manifold uses a cross-over coolant component made of DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA resin instead of brazed metal, shaving one pound to improve fuel economy. Behind the scenes, the running change illustrates the trend toward using high performance thermoplastic where it is essential. And it shows how collaboration in the value chain continues to drive cost and weight saving by developing and investing in innovative techniques to help the industry meet new fuel and emissions regulations.
The team from Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) in Ohio arrived at DuPont's Innovation Center in Troy to brainstorm how to integrate a crossover coolant component into a V6 engine manifold that is made of traditional nylon polymer. The crossover coolant component is a hollow port that allows engine coolant to bypass the manifold as it circulates through the engine. Traditional nylon 6 polymer doesn't withstand long-termexposure to heat and long-life coolant, so the ITW team was receiving the component made of brazed metal, which was heavy and expensive.

While DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA is frequently used in engine cooling components because it can withstand the long term exposure to heat and long life coolant, the intense pressure of the overmolding process needed to integrate the component into the manifold system was damaging the hollow component.

The cross-functional team approached the challenge from several perspectives related to design, material and processing. Over the following weeks the team modified the material and the design using advanced computer models to inform the prototype. ITW invested in cavity-pressure sensing technology from RJG, Inc. to understand pressures inside the molding cavity. The data was used to pinpoint where design changes could add structure and to control the process so the prototype could scale into production quickly.
"Getting accurate data about pressures and conditions inside the molding cavity significantly improved our ability to evaluate the material, iterate more efficiently on design and shorten the development cycle," said Tyler Terrell, ITW project manager. "This was a really tough challenge and we used every technology we could to get this part into production. The collaboration between the members of this team really made the difference."
"There's a growing trend toward using high-performance materials only where they are needed," said Pat Granowicz, powertrain segment leader, DuPont Automotive Performance Polymers. "This can lead to challenging designs and demand innovative processing solutions. Modelling based on how a material behaves in processing and in use is critical."

The new integrated coolant crossover debuts on Ford's 3.5L and 3.7L V6 engine that powers the Ford Taurus, Flex, Edge and Explorer. In addition to significant weight savings, the running change eliminated several steps in the value chain associated with processing and machining powder-coated metal. For the advances, Ford and the team from ITW and DuPont were named finalists in the Society of Plastics Engineers Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award in the Process/Assemby/Enabling Technology category.

It was one of two 2013 finalists. The other — an acoustic shield mounted on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra and Forte cylinder block — was developed by a team from Hyundai Motor Company, NVH Korea Co., Ltd. and DuPont. The application relies on heat and flame resistant DuPont™ Nomex® brand fiber to withstand the demanding engine environment. DuPont offers more than 100 materials and product families for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment.

Source: DuPont

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

UD's Prof. Wins EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for Developing Biobased Composites

The Environmental Protection Agency has honored the University of Delaware's Richard Wool with its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his extensive work developing bio-based materials to support the green energy infrastructure.

Wool was recognized during a presentation at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Now in its 18th year, the EPA awards program recognizes the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes and products. Awards are conferred annually in five categories: Academic, Small Business, Greener Synthetic Pathways, Greener Reaction Conditions and Designing Greener Chemicals.

Wool, UD professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Resources (ACRES) program, is among the world leaders in developing safer chemical substances from renewable resources through processes that require less water and energy, and produce less hazardous waste compared to petroleum-based processes.

The products can be used as adhesives, composites and foams — even circuit boards, hurricane resistant energy efficient roofs and leather substitutes. "Finding low toxicity replacements for commodity plastics such as polystyrene and PVC, adhesives, foams and composite resins, in addition to leather-like materials, must be a priority if we are to benefit the environment and human health," said Wool.

Wool became passionate about sustainability in the early 1990s when he served as chairman of the American Society for Testing and Materials committee for biodegradable plastics. The committee included representatives from the farming community, state governments and major corporations, as well as environmentalists and members of the academic community.

"I became critically aware of the issues surrounding waste management, recycling, climate change and the protection of our natural resources," he said. "I began to wonder if there was a better way."

This motivated Wool to incorporate green chemistry and green engineering solutions into his research. He created several high-performance materials using biobased feedstocks, including vegetable oils, lignin, chicken feathers and flax. He developed hurricane resistant roofing with colleagues in UD's civil and environmental engineering department in response to issues in global warming. He has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South African government to further its development of biobased township housing using ACRES inventions.

In 2012, Dixie Chemical began producing Wool's bio-based composite resins for a worldwide market. His discoveries have led to the development of soy-based composites used in boats, tractor panels and wind turbine parts.

One of Wool's more recent inventions is a breathable, bio-based eco-leather that avoids the traditional leather tanning process. This environmentally-friendly product, developed as a collaboration between researchers in Wool's ACRES group and colleagues in UD's fashion and apparel studies department, has resulted in collaborations with well-known companies such as Nike, Puma and others to use the leather substitute in their products. He shares a patent with Nike on the development of its new environmentally friendly air bubbles for athletic shoe wear.

"Ten years ago, green chemistry and engineering was a novel concept, but today, we are reaching a critical mass of individuals focused on sustainability and the environment," said Wool. "This award lends credibility to what we are doing, and my hope is that it will cause some to give us a second look."

Current and former students and colleagues in the ACRES group who contributed to Wool's green research will also be recognized during the ceremony.

Source: University of Delaware

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eastman Tritan™ Copolyester Finds Application in Air Sentry's New Line of Desiccant Breathers

Air Sentry, among the leading manufacturers of contamination control products, looked to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester to help create a new standard for its line of desiccant breathers. The company, based in Rockwall, Texas, selected Tritan, a new-generation copolyester, for its toughness and chemical resistance, and because it is free of bisphenol A (BPA).
Guardian, Air Sentry's newest line of desiccant breathers, is the company's first product line to be made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. The devices are cylindrical with a clear, extruded tube made with Tritan at the center. The product is designed to replace the original equipment manufacturer breather cap or air filter on gear boxes, hydraulic fluid reservoirs, bulk storage tanks, oil drums, transformers and other fluid reservoirs.

Downtime reduced; new applications realized:

Moisture breaks down the properties of lubricants and fuels creating equipment wear as harmful as wear from debris. According to Air Sentry, contamination-related lubricant failure accounts for more than 70 percent of unplanned equipment downtime. Guardian is designed to adsorb water from the air before it enters the fluid system and removes particulate contaminants as small as 2 micron. With these breathers, approximately 95 percent of all humidity going into the equipment headspace can be removed.
"We searched for a material that could exceed existing performance limitations with regard to temperature, chemical and impact resistance and that also was BPA-free," said Scott Dunbar, vice president, filtration and protective coatings. "Extensive research led us to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, which has the best combination of the qualities we were looking for."
With these desirable properties, Eastman Tritan™ copolyester allows users to install Guardian in areas where previous installations had to be remotely mounted or were not suitable for plastic breathers, including those subject to higher temperatures, vibration and exposure to chemicals.

New process:

Air Sentry had such confidence in Eastman Tritan™ copolyester that it upgraded its fabrication process to manufacture its Guardian line. The spin-welding technique allows for a single-piece manufacturing flow rather than batch processes used for its other lines. Eastman provided support as Air Sentry moved to the new process, which has reduced cycle times.
"Eastman's technical support and expertise in plastic molding techniques has been greatly valued," Dunbar said. "The extensive test data available for Eastman Tritan™ copolyester gave us confidence we were developing a product that would differentiate itself in the market."
Air Sentry has been pleased with Guardian's performance, and the product has seen a strong, positive market response. The new product — which Dunbar noted is the best new product launch in the company's history — helped Air Sentry increase market share in a short time.
Air Sentry is investigating additional applications using Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. The continued collaboration between the two companies provides additional opportunities to demonstrate Tritan performance in industrial applications.
"Eastman Tritan™ copolyester has been used extensively in the durables and medical markets, and this collaboration shows the material also is an excellent option for a variety of industrial applications," said Rob Costella, durables, market develop manager, Eastman Chemical Company. "Eastman is committed to working with its customers to develop products that have game-changing potential."
Air Sentry's products are sold worldwide to industries that use capital-intensive equipment to produce their products and services. The products are typically sold through distributors who carry other industrial products or lubricants.

Source: Eastman Chemical Company

Friday, December 13, 2013

Evonik's SEPURAN® Green Membrane Tech. Gets 2013 German Innovation Prize for Climate & Environment

With a level of purity approaching 99 percent, SEPURAN® Green high performance polymers from Evonik Industries make biogas processing much more efficient. For this achievement, the company has now received the 2013 German Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment in the "Environmentally friendly technologies" category. The prize is awarded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industry (BDI). Dr. Dahai Yu, responsible for the Specialty Materials Segment in the Executive Board: "Innovations are a major contribution towards overcoming the challenges of the future. This also includes securing energy supplies practically from economical, ecological, and social aspects. With SEPURAN® Green, Evonik shows what the chemical industry can do to make this happen."

Biogas, which consists mainly of the gases CO2 and methane, is regarded as an environmentally friendly form of energy. Before biogas can be fed into the natural gas grid it requires a considerable amount of processing and cleaning. The SEPURAN® Green membrane technology from Evonik now makes this process much more efficient and environmentally friendly.
"Our SEPURAN® membranes are made from a high performance polymer that we developed in-house," says Dr. Goetz Baumgarten, Head of the SEPURAN® business. "This polymer gives the membrane a particular property so that it is especially able to distinguish between methane and CO2."
But the membrane alone is not enough. A conditioning process for biogas, tailored especially to the membranes from Evonik, makes optimum use of their separation properties: In a three-stage process, the methane can be concentrated out of the crude gas with just one compressor and an especially high methane yield. In addition, the methane-rich gas does not have to be compressed further before it is fed into the natural gas grid.
This membrane process is up to 20 percent more energy efficient than alternative methods. Besides, no auxiliary chemicals are required. No waste or wastewater is produced.
Evonik initially trialed SEPURAN® Green in a test plant beside the Vöckla River in Neukirchen, Austria. Since then, several biogas processing plants using SEPURAN® Green technology has been put into operation. Evonik is continuing to develop the SEPURAN® technology for new applications, such as separating hydrogen and recovering nitrogen from compressed air.
With the German Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industry (BDI) acknowledge German industry's commitment to climate and environmental protection. This year was the fourth time that the prize has been awarded. The winners were chosen from among 97 contestants in five categories.

Source: Evonik

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Toyota Develops PP- & Plant-derived PA11-based Plastic Alloy with High Impact Strength

Toyota Boshoku Corporation, among the premier manufacturers of automotive interior systems, and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc., contributing to present and future businesses of Toyota Group companies through technological innovations, announce that they have developed an original technique to realize a bio-based plastic alloy with top-class impact strength. The bio-based plastic alloy (bio-alloy) is made from polyamide 11 (PA11), a 100% bio-based resin originating from plants and synthesized by castor oil*1 extracted from Ricinus Communis (castor bean plant) as a raw material, and polypropylene (PP) derived from petroleum-based resin. The performance of this high impact bio-alloy surpasses polycarbonate alloys.

The impact strength of the bio-alloy was achieved by controlling the phase structure of PP and PA11 at the nano level through a "salami structure*2" mixture (dispersion) resulting in the world's first "salami in co-continuous phase structure*2". To improve the chemical characteristics (affinity) of raw materials, a special reactive compatibilizer was added to the raw materials and a molten blended technology was carried out to lead to a chemical reaction. By utilizing this technology, Toyota has achieved an impact strength bio-alloy that is 10 times greater than that of PP conventionally used in car interior decoration parts and 13 times greater than that of bio-based plastic (PP/PLA). When this bio-alloy is put to practical use, the adaptation of bio-based plastic for automotive parts can be significantly expanded. In particular, interior decoration parts such as automotive door trims, installment panels or as a collision energy absorber to increase part safety impact strength and rigidity that are necessary for passenger protection at the time of crash. Furthermore, this bio-alloy can be applied to exterior automotive parts made from resin such as fenders or bumpers.

Toyota Group's Toyota Boshoku and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. plan to further improve the development of this technology including material technology aimed at early practical use of this bio-alloy, to contribute to the making of cars that harmonize with the global environment.
*1 Seeds of the castor plant (a non-edible plant) of the Euphorbiaceae are cultivated in tropical and temperate zones. PA11 is obtained by the polymerization of 11-amino undecanoic acid derived from the extraction of castor oil.

*2 The phase structure of compound resin is formed from numerous raw materials. The name "salami structure" came from the resemblance of a cut section of salami with the "salami structure" consisting of three parts: 1) the "lake" phase in the "island" (dispersion) phase, 2) the "island" phase in the "sea" (continuous) phase and the 3) "sea" phase. The "salami in co-continuous phase structure" has a salami structure in each continuous phase. In addition, at this time there are no reports of salami in co-continuous phase structure, this is the first such report (as of October 2013 per company research).

Source: Toyota Boshoku Corporation

Saturday, November 23, 2013

bio-on Designs 100% Biodegradable Bioplastic to Reduce Environmental Impact of Electronic Devices

With 50 million tons of waste produced worldwide every year, electronics (smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) are now a serious problem for the environment. To reduce the impact of the so called e-waste, a new contribution has arrived in the form of the revolutionary bioplastics designed by bio-on: this polymer (100% naturally biodegradable in water and soil) can be used as a substrate for electrical circuits. When combined with suitable nanofillers, it can act as an electricity conductor, with extraordinary, as yet unexplored potential.

"In this way it's possible to build electronic devices with a reduced environmental impact - Marco Astorri, CEO and co-founder of bio-on, explained during Maker Faire Rome — but the use of bioplastics will not be restricted to smartphones and tablets. We can extend it to highly advanced technological sectors, thanks to the multiple features of our bioplastics, their outstanding technical performance and excellent biocompatibility. In the future — added Astorri — this will also enable us to develop sensors and electro-medical equipment for health care".

The possibility of incorporating electrical and electronic circuits in plastic substrates, to obtain flexible, lightweight and easily integrated electronics, has been the subject of investigation by a team of Italian researchers from the Departments of Engineering of the Universities of Modena-Reggio Emilia and Perugia. They integrated carbon nanoparticles like nanotubes and graphene into bioplastics produced by bio-on, making them suitable for the development of sustainable electronics. The preliminary results of this research were presented in Rome during BIOPOL 2013, the International Conference on Biodegradable and Biobased Polymers.

"This type of plastic reduces the environmental impact of the device — according to Paola Fabbri, a researcher at the Enzo Ferrari Department of Engineering of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia — making recovery easier and cheaper. As much of the plastics currently used in electronics can now be replaced by biopolymers such as bio-on's, many businesses can already benefit by reducing the impact of the life cycle analysis (LCA) of electronic devices, as recommended by the European legislation".

Source: bio-on

Friday, November 22, 2013

BMW begins series production of i3 electric car

BMW has started series production of the BMW i3 urban vehicle, which features a passenger cell made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). BMW says this is the first time that CFRP has been used in high volume automotive production.The i3 is being assembled at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, where some €400 million has been invested in new structures and machinery for the production of BMW i models and 800 new jobs have been created.

   The production network for BMW i also sees key components manufactured at BMW Group plants and joint venture facilities at Moses Lake in the USA and Wackersdorf, Landshut and Dingolfing in Germany.
   The company has invested a total of around €600 million in the BMW i production network and generated over 1500 jobs.Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European countries will begin in November, with the car’s launch in the USA, China and other markets to follow in early 2014.
   “Today represents a milestone in our company’s development,” explains Harald Krüger, BMW Board Member for Production. “We are making history with the BMW i3. Not only is our first electric car about to hit the road, we are also completely redefining sustainability with regard to personal mobility..”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boeing rolls out first 787-9

BOEING has completed its first 787-9 Dreamliner, the second member of the 787 family. The aircraft was moved to the flight line, where teams are preparing it to fly shortly.
   The Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s construction is 50% composite materials. At 20 ft (6 m) longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 will extend the 787 family in both capacity and range, carrying 40 more passengers and has an additional range of 300 nautical miles (555 km).

 (The ÿrst 787-9 rolled out of Boeing’s Everett, Washington, factory on 24 August.)

   The second and third 787-9s are in assembly. First delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand is set for mid-2014.
   At the Paris Air Show earlier this year, Boeing launched the 787-10 Dreamliner, the third and largest member of the 787 family.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Avantium's PEF Fiber from Recycled PEF Bottles Used to Make 100% Biobased T-shirts

Avantium has made another breakthrough with its PEF (or polyethylene furanoate). It has demonstrated that PEF can also be used to make fibers, and even that PEF bottles can be recycled into PEF fibers. These PEF fibers from recycled PEF bottles have been processed into 100% biobased T-shirts.

The PEF fiber spinning and fabric weaving and dyeing was performed by the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment. The fiber market is an important recycling outlet for today's PET packaging, and the results presented today show similar end-of-life solutions that can be applied for PEF. During the World Cup 2010 in South Africa, shorts and jerseys made from recycled petroleum-based PET bottles were introduced by Nike for the national soccer teams of Brazil, Japan, England, the Netherlands and Team USA, saving petroleum based raw materials and reducing energy consumption by an estimated 30%. PEF T-shirts made from 100% biobased and recycled material would be the next step in sustainability, reducing dependence on petroleum and further decreasing the carbon footprint of apparel.

"These first PEF T-shirts are yet another important step in the development and commercialization of PEF as a 100% biobased and recyclable material", comments Tom van Aken, Avantium CEO. "The production of the first biobased PEF T-shirts produced from recycled bottles, adds apparel and sportswear to the many potential outlets of PEF. With its reduced carbon footprint, and improved performance, PEF is truly the sustainable plastic material of the future."
Since 2011 Avantium is developing PEF bottles with its partners The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Recently Avantium signed a partnership with Wifag-Polytype for the development of thermoformed PEF containers, drinking cups and trays.

Source: Avantium

Friday, November 8, 2013

Arkema Unveils Bio-based, Transparent Rilsan® Clear Rnew PA Grades for Electronics at Optical Fair

Arkema has always been involved to propose innovative bio-based polyamides for highly demanding markets. Continuing the successful story of Rilsan® Clear G830 Rnew, the first bio-based transparent polyamide, Arkema presents at the Optical fair (booth at 1C-G06) from November 6th to 8th two new grades — Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew and Rilsan® Clear G120 Rnew — for specific customer needs.

Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew has been especially designed for injection molding application (i.e.: optical and electronic), to give maximum freedom to designers. It has higher temperature resistance compared with G830 Rnew, which allows broader decoration techniques use. At the same time, its high fluidity offers perfect solution for thin-wall injected parts and is therefore ideally suitable for eyeglass frames.
Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew owns a broad spectrum of performance properties and benefits for eyeglass frames:
  • Excellent flexibility and fatigue resistance
  • Outstanding optical properties and transparency
  • Good UV and chemical resistance
  • Light weight
  • Outstanding processing properties
Rilsan® Clear G120 Rnew, besides the optical and processing properties of the range, has an outstanding chemical resistance, especially with alcohols. Thus, this grade can adapt to thin walled geometries and applications in difficult industrial environments.
All Rilsan® Clear grades are BPA free, allowing for a huge number of applications where health is a concern. As Rilsan® Clear Rnew grades are partially based on renewable resources, they contribute to reduce CO2 emissions.

Source: Arkema

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NatureWorks Unveils High-performance Ingeo Biopolymer Grades Designed for Durable Goods Mkt

NatureWorks now offers three new Ingeo high performance biopolymer grades designed for injection molding and extrusion applications. They will allow formulations comparable in performance to engineering thermoplastics at a cost lower than any previous high-biobased content polymers on the market.
These new Ingeo grades allow faster cycle times and production rates, a 15°C improvement in heat deformation temperature, and a three-to-four fold increase in bulk crystallization rate. NatureWorks expects to see these new high performance Ingeo grades in applications such as consumer durable and semi-durable products as well as food service ware such as cutlery and hot cup lids. Compounders can use their expertise to introduce durables with the highest bio content ever achieved on this cost-effective commercial scale. "Commercializing these new grades follows the very positive market feedback NatureWorks received from customers during pilot sampling over the last year," said Frank Diodato, NatureWorks durables industry global segment manager.

Key Features and Benefits of Ingeo 2500HP, 3100HP and 3260HP:

The three new grades extend the Ingeo property range and enable users to tune crystallization rate and stiffness (above the glass transition temperature) for custom formulations. The high-flow Ingeo 3260HP and the medium-flow Ingeo 3100HP provide broader molding temperature windows, leading to more robust process parameters for injection molding. Higher viscosity Ingeo 2500HP is designed to provide higher heat performance for extruded products.
"Our focus is to bring cost competitive, market-driven solutions to reality," said NatureWorks President and CEO Marc Verbruggen. "These new grades are the result of intensive research and development and significant long-term investments in our state-of-the-art production process."
The international Ingeo users' forum Innovation Takes Root will be held February 17-19, 2014, in Orlando, Florida.
Ingeo and the Ingeo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NatureWorks LLC in the USA and other countries.

Source: NatureWorks

BSA Completes Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm for Rubber Production for Tires

Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSA) today announced the completion of the Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm in Eloy, Ariz. The research farm will supply guayule biomass for rubber production at the company's BioRubber Process Research Center, which is currently under construction in Mesa, Ariz.

"At Bridgestone, we are committed to helping ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations. Because the demand for tires is expected to increase in the long term, we are investing in identifying ways not only to diversify our natural rubber source beyond the hevea rubber tree, but also to explore other innovative methods to make our products more sustainable," said Bill Niaura, director of new business development, BSA. "Guayule fits the profile perfectly — as it's both domestic and renewable — and the completed Agro Operations site is a critical piece to delivering on our commitment."

Agro Operations includes a dedicated 281-acre research farm, two greenhouses, an equipment storage building, and a main research and laboratory building, which are all now completed. Teammates working onsite will research genetic improvement and optimized agronomic practices, scale-up seed availability for additional farming and biomass production, and build relationships with independent producers.

The farm started growing guayule for research use in spring of 2013. The team has completed the fall planting, which will provide the first biomass to the BioRubber Process Research Center for tire evaluation in mid-2015.

The center was designed by Hollon Design Associates LLC, a Tempe-based architectural firm, while BSI Construction LLC managed the construction. Bridgestone Group has established the usage of "100 percent sustainable materials" as an initiative to make full use of its technological and product development capabilities. Accomplishing this will require progress specifically in the areas of expanding or diversifying renewable resources. Through efforts such as guayule research, the Bridgestone Group will be able to offer its customers high quality products on a perpetual basis, since the products will be sustainable from a business and environmental standpoint. The project aligns with the Bridgestone Group's company-wide dedication to sustainability, One Team One Planet.

Source: Bridgestone Corporation

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Solvay at K 2013: Launched Bio-based Kalix® HPPA Series for Smart Mobile Devices

Solvay Specialty Polymers has announced a major extension of its Kalix® high-performance polyamide (HPPA) product line, launching a new portfolio of bio-based high-performance polyamides offered for use in smart mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart mobile electronics. The introduction includes the Kalix® HPPA 3000 series, the first bio-based amorphous polyphthalamides (PPAs), and the Kalix® 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced semi-crystalline polyamide grades that provide outstanding impact performance. Solvay unveiled the new materials at K 2013.
The Kalix® 3000 series breaks new ground as the industry's first bio-based amorphous PPA which delivers exceptional processability. The two new grades — Kalix® 3850 and Kalix® 3950 — provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing due to fewer secondary operations such as deflashing. The two compounded grades consist of 16% renewable content according to the ASTM D6866 test method for determining bio-based carbon content. One of the key raw materials for the Kalix® 3000 series is a renewably sourced material supplied by sister company Solvay Novecare, a specialty supplier of surfactants, polymers, amines, solvents, guar, and phosphorus derivatives.
"The launch of the industry's first bio-based amorphous PPA is a major breakthrough because it extends the performance profile of bio-basedpolyamides," said Tom Wood, senior vice president of crystalline products for Solvay Specialty Polymers. "Our new series is a renewably sourced option that not only meets sustainability needs but also delivers world-class performance and processability."

Under the development work, Solvay utilized the specialized resources of its R&D teams in India, Belgium, China, and the U.S. while also taking advantage of new Solvay raw materials captively available since the Rhodia acquisition in 2012, according to Wood.
Meanwhile, the new Kalix® 2000 series of semi-crystalline materials, based on PA 6, 10, consists of Kalix® 2855 and Kalix® 2955. They provide strong mechanical properties, high impact, exceptional surface finish, and low moisture absorption. These two compounded grades consist of 27% renewable content according to ASTM D6866.
Both the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series compounds offer manufacturers more sustainable options while providing the exceptional physical attributes and processing capabilities that are required in demanding structural applications such as injection molded chassis, housings, and covers, according to Sebastien Petillon, global market manager electronics for Solvay Specialty Polymers. "Our expanded portfolio of bio-based polyamides is driven by environmentally-conscious manufacturers who are continually striving for more sustainable alternatives," said Petillon. "These manufacturers also seek tailored materials to meet targeted application needs, taking advantage of Solvay Specialty Polymers' wide portfolio."
Both the 2000 and 3000 series contain monomers that come from the sebacic acid chain which is derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil. Overall, in addition to their renewable content, the grades introduced today (between 50-55% glass fibers loading) provide greater strength and stiffness than most competing glass-reinforced materials including high-performance polyamides and lower-performing engineering plastics such as polycarbonate.
The introduction of the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series represents a major expansion of Solvay's long-time offering of Ixef® polyarylamide (PARA) and Kalix® HPPA grades which have served the mobile electronics market the past 15 years. The new bio-based grades are expected to penetrate a greater share of smart mobile device applications due to their easier processability compared to Ixef® PARA, according to Petillon. Ixef® will continue to be used in niche structural applications where the ultimate combination of strength, stiffness, and surface finish are key requirements. The Kalix® 9000 series, currently one of the leading structural high-performance polyamide-based materials for the smart device industry since its debut in 2009, will also continue to be offered and improved for applications that don't require the bio-based composition and exceptional processing of the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series.
Both the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series offer an excellent surface finish. They can be matched to a wide range of colors including the bright and light colors of the smart device industry and can be painted using existing coatings commonly used for portable electronic devices. The new materials are available globally and Solvay intends to primarily manufacture in the region of sale, according to Petillon. The company expects most production to be conducted at its Changshu, China, facility since Asia is the primary manufacturing center for smart mobile devices.
Both Kalix® 2955 and 3950 have been qualified and specified by OEMs for use in smart mobile devices. Solvay is already developing next-generation bio-based products with enhanced flow, better mechanical performance, and higher renewable content for constantly redesigned and innovative smart mobile devices.

Source: Solvay

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Putnam Plastics Reports Increased Interest in Integrated Catheter Components Made by Medical Device Co.

Putnam Plastics Corporation, among the leaders in advanced extrusion for minimally invasive medical devices, reports increased interest in integrated catheter components made by medical device companies. These components leverage continuous manufacturing to combine sub-component processes, eliminate assembly steps and reduce manual labor, thus allowing device companies to reduce overall costs.
"Industry reports in 2009 suggested double digit compound annual growth rates for the interventional cardiology devices. By 2012 some industry reports adjusted this growth rate down into the single digits," said Jim Dandeneau, Putnam Plastics Chief Executive Officer. "However, this more likely reflects competitiveness and cost reduction pressures on devices rather than decreased innovation." Over a ten year period beginning in 2003 there was a steady decline in these patents issued until 2008, where it bottomed out at 168. Since then, there has been a strong increase in catheter patents issued reaching 454 in 2012, representing a 170% increase over the four year period.
"At Putnam Plastics, we have experienced double digit demand in complex catheter shafts since 2008," continued Dandeneau. "Leading device companies are increasingly looking for innovative manufacturing solutions to produce better catheter shafts while reducing total production costs and time to market."
Putnam Plastics' growth of ‘continuous manufacturing technologies' for complex catheter shafts continues to exceed market growth rates. Continuous manufacturing integrates multiple extrusion related processes to produce tubing with different properties on the inside and outside surfaces, and variable stiffness from the proximal to distal ends. These technologies replace costly manual assembly of discrete components for angioplasty, angiography, guiding and other interventional catheters.

Source: Putnam Plastics

BASF Introduces Partly Bio-based Ultramid® S Balance PA 6.10 for Monofilament Applications

BASF is now globally offering Ultramid® S Balance in a version for monofilament applications. The high performance polyamide 6.10, partly based on renewable resources, is available in various viscosities. The bio-based sebacic acid, which is used to produce Ultramid® S Balance, originates from the castor oil plant. In compounded and glass-fiber reinforced versions, BASF has already introduced the material in different commercial applications, e.g. in a design lamp or automotive quick connectors.
"The demand for bio-based raw materials is increasing worldwide", says Hermann Althoff, Senior Vice President of the Global Polyamide and Intermediates Business Unit. “The introduction of Ultramid® S Balance for monofilament applications is another contribution of BASF to support this trend."
Polyamide 6.10 offers unique mechanical properties such as higher dimensional stability and softness compared to polyamide 6 orpolyamide 6.6. Many of the benefits arise from less moisture absorption and higher carbon content. Due to its specific properties, Ultramid® S Balance can be used in various monofilament applications, e.g. filters for paper machine clothing or industrial brushes, as well as textile fibers and different engineering plastic applications.

High performance Ultramid® products for the engineering plastics, film, fiber and monofilament industry:

With more than 60 years of experience, BASF is one of the leading suppliers of high quality polyamide and polyamide intermediates for the engineering plastics, film, fiber and monofilament industry. The line of products include Ultramid® B (polyamide 6), Ultramid® C (polyamide 6/6.6 copolymer) and Ultramid® A (polyamide 6.6). The product offerings are supplemented by technical services for our customers.
BASF operates Ultramid® polymerization plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; Freeport, Texas and São Paulo, Brazil. The production of polyamide for film, textile and carpet fiber as well as for engineering plastics applications is integrated into BASF's global Verbund structure with polyamide intermediates (i.e. adipic acid, anolon, caprolactam), chemical raw materials (i.e. ammonia, cyclohexane, sulfuric acid), energy, by-product recovery, logistics and other services.

Source: BASF

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Article has got published in couple of magazines and websites.Biocomposites in Automotive Applications

ATK Research on NASA advanced graphite composite booster

ATK has achieved a milestone in its NASA Research Announcement (NRA) Advanced Booster risk-reduction program for the Space Launch System (SLS) by successfully completing filament winding of a pathfinder Advanced Booster composite case.

Ultimately, this Advanced Booster NRA effort will enable NASA and ATK to optimize a case design that will be stronger, yet more affordable than traditional steel cases. In turn, this will provide increased payload performance due to reduced weight inherent in composite materials.

The pathfinder article is a 92-inch-diameter, 27-foot-long composite case. In order to achieve both the affordability and performance required of an Advanced Booster, ATK overcame challenges during case winding operations. ATK leveraged 45 years of composite case winding experience, its experienced workforce, and a modern fiber-placement tooling system to achieve success on its first attempt.

ATK has manufactured more than 1,600 commercial solid rocket motors to date, many of which use composite cases and high-energy propellants, for a wide variety of launch vehicles including Delta II and Delta IV, as well as Orbital's Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur and Antares space launch vehicles. ATK first entered the commercial launch vehicle market in 1987 when it developed its first commercial composite motor, the GEM-40, which is still being used on the Delta II launch vehicle. ATK's commercial product line includes GEM, CASTOR, and Orion solid rocket motors.

The next step in the Advanced Booster NRA program is to continue development of high performance and low-cost propellants that meet the lofty payload and affordability goals of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS). These propellants, many of which are also widely used in ATK commercial solid rocket motors, combined with the achievements made in composite case technology, will provide NASA several options for performance increases for the next generation Advanced Booster.

On the existing SLS boosters ATK's Value Stream Mapping (VSM) process, which is a company-wide business practice, allowed the employees to identify inefficient processes, procedures and requirements to help reach the target condition. Through this process, ATK identified more than 400 changes and improvements, which NASA approved. These changes have reduced assembly time by approximately 46 percent, saving millions of dollars in projected costs for the SLS system.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

BIOTEC at K 2013: Unveiled Biobased BIOPLAST 500 Resin for Film Applications

BIOTEC presented a real breakthrough in biodegradable bioplastic resins fit for film applications during the K 2013.
With a biobased carbon share of more than 50% and intended suitable for film applications, the new BIOPLAST 500 is a real forerunner on the bioplastics market. Biodegradable bags are ready to meet the challenges of European waste disposal regulations that now require more than 40% biobased contents.
The "OK compost HOME" certification also allows bags made of BIOPLAST to comply with waste disposal policies that strongly put the stress on home composting.

Enhanced technical properties

"The challenges to tackle were significant. Process ability and mechanical properties were key factors. And we are extremely proud to announce that BIOPLAST 500 can be extruded down to 18 microns films" says Harald Schmidt CEO of BIOTEC. "Our research team has been working for 3 years in order to deliver such performances, BIOPLAST 500 shows BIOTEC's ability to develop innovative products that can meet market and regulation needs" says Peter Brunk Managing Director of BIOTEC.

Technical data

BIOPLAST 500 is designed for blown film extrusion for the following applications:
  • short life packaging
  • multi-use bags (e.g. carrier bags, loop-handle bags),
  • single-use bags ( biowaste bags, bin liners, etc.)
  • agricultural film.
Films made of BIOPLAST 500:
  • consist mainly of renewable raw materials
  • are home compostable ("OK compost Home" certificate awarded by Vinçotte)
  • are biodegradable according to EN 13432
  • are recyclable
  • are printable by flexographic and offset printing without pretreatment
  • have a soft touch
  • can be colored with masterbatches
  • are sealable (hot, RF, ultra sonic)

Source: BIOTEC GmbH & Co. KG

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Toray Industries agrees to acquire Zoltek Companies

The global demand for PAN-based carbon fibers is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of exceeding 15% as an advanced material which contributes not only to energy saving through weight reduction but also to spread of renewable energy as alternative of fuel (oil and coal) energy. On the one hand, regular tow carbon fiber is widely being accepted in the field of high performance / high quality application such as aerospace, but on the other hand, large tow carbon fiber is anticipated to expand its applications, based on its reasonable balance between cost and performance, to wind energy-related which shows rapid demand growth in recent years, and automobile structural parts in future. It is foreseen that demands for regular tow carbon fiber and large tow fiber will grow separately, reflecting each characteristic.

Zoltek entered into large tow carbon fiber business in 1988, and acquired textile acrylic fiber plants in Hungary and Mexico in 1996 and 2007 respectively, and has been promoting development of large tow carbon fiber application and demand. Under its unique marketing strategy distinguished from that of regular tow manufacturers, Zoltek has recently realized outstanding growth in its business along with the demand increase in wind energy-related application, pursuing its ultimate cost competitiveness. 

Toray has showed its presence in the field of advanced applications such as aerospace represented by Boeing 787 and natural gas pressure vessel by concentrating its business resource to high performance / high quality regular tow carbon fiber. Meanwhile, not having large tow carbon fiber as its product line up, Toray has been considering how to address promising growth in commodity industrial field such as wind energy-related application and automobile structural parts application. By acquiring Zoltek, Toray has obtained opportunity for further growth, expanding its business in totally different field from regular tow carbon fiber.

As one of its strategically expanding businesses, Toray has promoted business expansion of carbon fiber composite materials business by proactively allocating business resources. Through entering into large tow carbon fiber business, Toray aims at further expanding its business and providing solution to global issues including environmental, resource-related and energy issues with this advanced material.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

BASF at K 2013: Unveils Metal Replacing Semi-aromatic PA Grades for Specialized Applications

When it comes to replacing metals with intelligent plastic solutions, one can easily lose track of the spectrum of possible applications, also beyond the realm of automotive construction. Handles for doors and windows often have internal parts made of die-cast zinc that can be replaced with plastic. Heavy and expensive metals are still being used for sports equipment, household appliances, and furniture and even for thermal separators and assembly systems in solar modules. However, there are hardly any choices between standard polyamide – which does not always meet the requirements – and costly high-performance materials. In a quest to fill this gap, BASF has now expanded its Ultramid® portfolio and is introducing two new materials upon the occasion of the K 2013 plastics trade fair. Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua® and Ultramid D3EG12 HMG are two materials that are suitable for replacing metal in many different, and yet highly specialized, areas of application.

Balancing act between cost and performance

Aside from the two classic advantages of plastics, namely their potential for lightweight construction and function integration, an important role is also played by the thermal and electric insulation capacity of these materials. Whenever standard plastics reach their technical limits, users first turn to high-performance plastics. The actual implementation, however, is then often thwarted by cost considerations since high-performance plastics are often very expensive, particularly when they contain fillers such as carbon fibers. This is where the two new materials can come to the rescue.
Thanks to its good chemical and hydrolysis resistance, Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua is a polyamide specialty well-suited for components that come into contact with drinking water. This material has all of the usual drinking water approvals. And then, there is Ultramid D3EG12 HMG, which is a polyamide that stands out for its high modulus of elasticity of over 20,000 MPa. This is why it is the product of choice to replace visible die-cast metal parts since, in spite of its extraordinarily high glass fiber content of 60 percent, this material has extremely good surface properties.
These two partly aromatic polyamides were systematically developed as a high-performance complement to the standard assortment. Both of them are very stiff, display good creep behavior and are relatively irrespective of moisture in comparison to standard polyamide. For this reason, these two products lend themselves to cost-effectively replacing metal parts in almost all areas of application.

For drinking water – water meters and more

With Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua, BASF is also expanding its line of products developed for contact with drinking water. The special requirements stipulated for parts that come into contact with drinking water include very low migration values, a high level of taste neutrality, and substantiation that long-term contact with the plastic will not cause accelerated algae growth. Moreover, these plastics of the Aqua product line are also approved for food contact (FC).
An attractive application example of the Aqua grades is housings for water meters. Conventional brass housings have a high content of expensive copper as well as up to three percent lead to enhance processing. Lead-free materials are now acquiring greater significance since the limit value for lead in drinking water will be lowered from 0.025 mg/l to 0.01 mg/l in the member states of the European Union as of December 2013. Not least because of its strength and toughness, Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua is well-suited for such applications. Moreover, this polyamide exhibits reduced water absorption as well as high stiffness, and it can withstand dynamic load cases of the type encountered, for instance, when single-lever mixer taps are shut off abruptly.

More flexible than die-cast metal

The materials earmarked as metal substitutes are first evaluated in terms of their mechanical properties. They are competing with die-cast zinc and die-cast aluminum. The extraordinary mechanical properties of Ultramid D3EG12 HMG have led to the suffix HMG, which stands for "high modulus grade" and emphasizes its very high modulus of elasticity. A remarkable characteristic of polyamide is that, on the one hand, it consistently retains its high modulus of elasticity in the conditioned as well as in the dry state. On the other hand, thanks to the reduced moisture absorption, the tensile strength in the conditioned state only drops slightly as compared to the dry state. Aside from the mechanical properties, there are other characteristics such as thermal behavior or chemical resistance that also need to be taken into account. Thus, this material stands out, among other things, for a broad processing window, which is reflected in moderate mold and melt temperatures.

Visible parts made of highly filled polyamide

The new Ultramid D3EG12 HMG is thus a logical addition to the Ultramid portfolio. In spite of its high glass fiber reinforcement, this material is just right for the production of finished products having high-quality surfaces such as office chairs. This property combination alone opens up interesting application possibilities, both in visible applications and for sealing purposes. Ball shut-off valves are already being made of the HMG material nowadays.
It is precisely here that the high surface quality entails an additional advantage: the sealing surfaces of components made of Ultramid D3EG12 HMG are so smooth that there is no need for any rework. This is another strong point of the plastic version, which is why it is often the more cost-effective alternative in comparison to metal. During material development, BASF assesses the surfaces on the basis of realistic sample parts.

Economical thanks to plastics-oriented design and to parts testing

As a rule, metal designs cannot be transferred directly to plastic. As a matter of principle, a plastic part should be designed completely separately from the precursor variant. Precisely when the switch is being made from a metal to a plastic solution, it is often practical and economically advantageous to work with appropriate simulation programs as soon as possible, that is to say, already during the initial concept for the component, and also to utilize available plastic know-how. BASF experts are on hand to help customers with expertise in materials and processes in order to maximize the technical and economic potential of a plastic for a specific application. Conversely, however, it can also happen that a metal solution is the more economical variant, particularly in the case of simple geometries.
In individual cases, BASF offers the possibility to test components. For instance, the BASF flow laboratory has facilities to test the long-term resistance of water meters, pipe fittings or other parts that come into contact with water when exposed to chlorinated water at different temperatures, pressures, pH values and flow rates, even over the course of thousands of hours. Bursting-pressure tests or other customer-specific tests are likewise possible.
All in all, the new materials, along with knowledge about product behavior in realistic scenarios and with cutting-edge computational tools, open up new and promising perspectives in component development.

Source: BASF