Friday, June 28, 2013

Evonik's Biobased VESTAMID® Terra PA Used in Multi-layer Tube Systems of Racing Car

RED Motorsport's Lotus Exige completed the third race of the new season on June 14th and 15th, took place in the Touring Car Championships (TCC) of the Deutscher Motorsport Verband (DMV) at the Hockenheimring. The racing car, which Evonik uses to test new applications, boasts a number of novel features this year including a multi-layer line for charge-air cooling. The green section of the line has an outer layer of a biobased polyamide, VESTAMID® Terra. This is the first time Evonik Industries is testing the multi-layer tube system with the biobased plastic on the race track. 

Since 2007, Evonik has been testing coolant line systems consisting of multi-layer tubes of petroleum-based VESTAMID® under tough racing conditions. These multi-layer tubes serve as lightweight replacements for rubber hoses and reinforced lines. The MLT 8000 multi-layer tubing system has since proven its performance in vehicles worldwide. The racing car of the current season uses MLT 8000.3 with an orange outer layer. This system is around 870 g lighter than cooling line systems with steelflex tubes, which means a weight reduction of more than 70 percent. 

The coolant lines of the 8000 series have three layers: The inner layer consists of a polypropylene specially adapted for this application. On top of this is an adhesion promoter layer, followed by the outer layer consisting of the high-grade specialty polyamide VESTAMID® or the biobased VESTAMID® Terra. 

Evonik's biobased polyamides have also been successful in other applications. They have been used commercially since 2010 as mono-layer tubes in, for example, air brake lines of utility vehicles, in semitrailers and trailers, and for pneumatic lines. The use of the biobased material in multi-layer tubing systems for coolant lines is new, however. 

Under the VESTAMID® Terra brand name Evonik offers various biobased polyamides (PA610, PA1010, and PA1012) covering a wide application spectrum that is used in hydraulic lines, for example. In road vehicles these lines are connected by means of quick connectors made from a petroleum-based, glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide 12 such as VESTAMID® L-GF30 or biobased VESTAMID® Terra HS1850. In racing vehicles, on the other hand, connection is by metal plug-in couplings. 

For many years, Evonik Industries has been making components specifically for the Lotus Exige to test them under the high demands imposed by motor racing. The findings flow into commercial-scale production — and not only in the automotive industry. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Metabolix to Explore Versatility of Biobased PHA Modifiers for Enhanced PVC Plasticization

New materials have long been sought that help to tackle increasing concerns about the future sustainability of petroleum feedstocks and the increasing generation of waste (and litter) driven by our growing population. Reducing generation by using less, for example in packaging, and recycling and reusing materials that often end up as waste, are both great places to look to creatively apply these new materials.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is one of the best known, versatile plastics in the world and one of the least recycled. PVC has qualities that make it usable in everything from piping and construction to signs and packaging.

However, PVC always requires additives before it can be made into a finished product and most of these additives, along with the PVC itself, are not made with renewable resources. Furthermore, while these additives provide important enhancements to the basic PVC polymer — from making the PVC more flexible to increasing its UV stability for outdoor use — they can hinder recycling and reuse. Many additives, like phthalates, unfortunately also migrate to the surface, out of the PVC, over time reducing the desired performance.

At Metabolix, we are researching the benefits of using our biopolymers as PVC modifiers to solve some of these problems, while improving performance and lowering overall formulation costs. Recent work led by Dr. Yelena Kann and presented at ANTEC 2013 entitled "Versatile Vinyl Plastic: Formulating for the future", highlighted how PHA modifiers offer PVC formulators with effective biobased impact modification. Data presented demonstrate that incorporation of these modifiers also does not compromise transparency nor UV stability of the PVC.
In December 2012, we introduced I6001, the industry's first biobased polymeric impact modifier for PVC to improve toughness and simultaneously impart some plasticization. The additional plasticization allows for elimination of some secondary plasticizers and for a reduction in the use of primary phthalates and other additives.
Unlike phthalates and some biobased plasticizers, our PHA modifiers bring plasticization without unwanted migration to the surface over time and resultant loss of toughness.
PHA polymeric modifiers are competitive on price and performance with the leading petroleum based core-shell impact modifiers, and offers the potential to reformulate the total additive package to achieve overall cost savings. These new biobased PHA modifiers allow PVC compounders and converters to create innovative new solutions and product offerings in a mature industry. In fact, Karen Laird of Plastics Today identified additives and modifiers as an area of bioplastics that will "strongly develop" in a recent article, "Bioplastics in 2013: 5 Trends to Watch."
At Metabolix, we've been exploring the versatility and range of our patented PHA backbone technology as we develop these impact modifiers for PVC. The development of biobased additives and modifiers represents a new part of the green tech story where materials valued for competitive performance also offer sustainability benefits. Metabolix is pleased to be taking part in this evolution and we look forward to bringing new biobased performance additives to market in 2013 and beyond.

Source: Metabolix

Monday, June 3, 2013

Purac to Commercialize PURALACT® Lactides to Produce PLA Homopolymers in Asian Biopolymer Mkt

Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, has signed a long term supply contract for the delivery of up to 10,000 tons annually of PURALACT® lactides to a customer in Asia. PURALACT® lactides will be polymerized into high heat polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic made from annually renewable resources.

Commercial production of the partner's production facility is expected to start in the second half of 2014, but material for sampling and testing will be available shortly. The supply agreement for high optical purity lactides will enable Purac's partner to produce a range of high performance PLA homopolymers.

The target market for the partner's PLA is Asia, with a focus on high heat PLA for durable and demanding applications, such as automotive and electronics parts.

Further to the supply agreement, Purac and its partner have signed a joint development agreement where Purac's know-how in the area of high performance PLA will be combined with the partner's market access and application knowledge to further accelerate the commercialization of PLA compounds for injection molding and extrusion purposes.

Source: Purac