Monday, May 26, 2014

A high stiffness PEEK grade

Solvay Specialty Polymers has announced the introduction of a high stiffness grade of KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) that provides 50% greater modulus/stiffness than standard neat PEEK grades.

Despite its higher stiffness, the new grade, KetaSpire KT-825, retains the elongation and toughness that is comparable to that of neat PEEK resin for structural applications in transportation, electronics, semiconductor, and oil and gas. 

This grade utilizes a proprietary additive and compounding technology that allows a combination of high stiffness, ductility, and low specific gravity of 1.35 compared to 1.30 for neat PEEK. The new grade bridges the performance gap between unfilled PEEK and traditional glass fiber reinforced or carbon fiber reinforced PEEK grades, according to Jamal El-Hibri, principal scientist for Solvay Specialty Polymers. 

Unfilled PEEK offers ductility, good impact resistance and isotropic properties, but often lacks sufficient stiffness and strength, while reinforced PEEK grades are typically the opposite – very strong and stiff materials but comparatively brittle.

The heat deflection temperature (HDT) at 1.84 MPa (264 psi) of KT-825 is 10°C (18°F) higher than standard unfilled PEEK. Meanwhile, the modulus of KT-825 is 50% greater than that of the natural resin at temperatures below the glass transition temperature (Tg) of PEEK (150°C/302°F). At temperatures above the Tg, the tensile and flexural moduli are two times that of unfilled PEEK. As a result, KT-825 is a more robust material than unfilled PEEK for use in applications that approach or slightly exceed operating temperatures of 150°C (302°F).
While the tensile strength of KT-825 is unchanged from that of standard unfilled PEEK, the flexural strength is about 10% higher. From a rheological standpoint, the new compound is easily processed due to a melt viscosity that is similar to that of a 30% glass fiber reinforced PEEK compound (e.g., KT-820 GF30). In its natural (uncolored) state, KT-825 has a uniform light beige appearance.

Testing in accordance with the UL-94 vertical burn procedure demonstrates that KT-825 is capable of meeting UL’s V-0 flammability resistance requirements at a thickness of 0.8 mm (0.03 in), providing an advantage over other commercial neat PEEK grades, which do not meet the UL 94 V-0 flammability rating requirements at this thickness. Neat PEEK grades are typically rated V-0 at 1.5 to 3.2 mm (0.06 to 0.13 in); however, published literature indicates that neat PEEK does not demonstrate robust V-0 performance at 1.5-mm (0.06 in) thickness.

As an added bonus, KT-825 achieves a 70% higher dielectric strength relative to neat PEEK. Dielectric strength per ASTM D149 at a thickness of 3.2 mm (0.13 in) is 26.0 kV/mm (660 V/mil) for KT-825 as compared with 15.2 kV/mm (385 V/mil) for neat PEEK. This makes KT-825 particularly suited for applications where a combination of high mechanical properties and a high degree of electrical insulation is needed.

The new compound can be processed by conventional methods including injection molding and extrusion. It also has excellent film forming characteristics for melt extruded films down to thicknesses of approximately 50 microns (0.05 mm). Targeted application areas include automotive and aerospace due to a continuing demand for materials that offer a high stiffness-to-weight ratio as well as structural applications in mobile electronics where a good balance of stiffness and toughness are required along with a low specific gravity.

More information:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Metabolix at Interpack 2014: Exhibits Compostable Film Grade Resins for Packaging

Metabolix (NASDAQ: MBLX), an advanced biomaterials company focused on sustainable solutions for the plastics and chemicals industries, recently announced that it is highlighting at Interpack 2014 its high performance biopolymers offering a range of innovative solutions for packaging applications. Show attendees may visit Metabolix's booth at Messe Dusseldorf located in the "Biopolymers in Packaging Pavilion" in Hall 9, Booth G05 between May 8 and May 14.
"As a result of our focus on innovation, we continue to offer our customers new solutions for packaging applications," said Bob Engle, vice president, biopolymers at Metabolix. "We look forward to highlighting at Interpack 2014 our compostable resin, performance additive and color masterbatch product lines. Further, we are continuing to focus on the unique performance advantages our PHA biopolymers can bring in applications such as compostable film and PHA latex coatings. Our goal is to deliver new developmental and commercial products over the next 12 months that have a clearly differentiated range of capabilities well-suited to packaging and other applications."
Metabolix polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)-based biopolymer technology enables manufacturers and brand owners across the plastics and packaging industries to meet sustainability and performance objectives.
  • Mvera™ B5011: This certified compostable film grade resin from Metabolix is designed as a transparent option for the compostable film and bag market. Mvera B5011 provides excellent clarity and low haze, as well as performance characteristics such as tear and puncture toughness, excellent seal strength, and a balance of strength and stiffness. Mvera B5011 combines easy processability with certified compostability to deliver unique advantages for packaging applications.
  • Mvera™ B5010: This film grade resin from Metabolix is designed for compostable bag and film markets across the globe. It meets international industrial standards for compostability and has been certified by Vincotte to meet the EN13432 standard. The resulting film has exceptional seal strength and good printability, making it an ideal option for compostable packaging.
  • Performance Additives: Metabolix has developed a line of PHA biopolymer performance additives for traditional and biobased plastics, including PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PLA (polylactic acid). In packaging applications, Metabolix's performance additives can be used as property modifiers to impart a range of physical and performance properties in PVC and PLA.
  • Color Masterbatches: Metabolix biopolymer color masterbatches are highly compatible with a wide range of biopolymers, and can preserve high bio-content and certifiable compostability for broad end-of-life options, including soil and marine degradability and suitability for home compost. Metabolix is displaying its color masterbatches based on PHA in cooperation with AF-Color.
  • Metabolix Developmental Grades in Film and PHA Latex Coatings: Metabolix is featuring developmental film grades that enable creation of film products with a range of properties and capabilities. For example, Metabolix is displaying films that can range from flexible to stiff while maintaining high load carrying capabilities. Metabolix's PHA biopolymers also provide the benefit of biocontent, toughening, and flexibilization to film compounds used in packaging applications.
  • Metabolix also is developing PHA latex coatings for packaging applications. These PHA latex coatings are expected to offer good barrier properties and tough, tack-free performance. Metabolix's PHA patex coatings are biodegradable in marine and soil environments, as well as by anerobic digestion, while maintaining compatibility with repulping, the most common recycling method used for paper and cardboard.

Source: Metabolix, Inc.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

RTP Company Develops EMI Shielding Compounds as Alternate to Metal for Auto Sensing Systems

Global custom engineered thermoplastics compounder RTP Company has developed EMI shielding compounds that are ideal for replacing metal or conductive coated plastic housings in automotive sensing systems. Because drivers depend on the proper operation of automotive radar and sensing systems to maintain vehicle safety and reliability, these systems require highly reliable EMI protection to eliminate “noise” that could interfere with signal processing. And, as automotive industry engineers incorporate more electronic safety systems into vehicles, they need materials that are lighter in weight and provide greater design flexibility.
“The automotive industry is putting more emphasis on reducing mass in order to meet fuel efficiency and emissions regulations,” said Neil Hardwick, Marketing Manager for Conductive Products at RTP Company. “RTP Company’s EMI shielding compounds are an ideal solution for engineers who need to replace metal components with lighter-weight materials that are simple and economical to produce without sacrificing critical EMI shielding performance.”
EMI compounds from RTP Company can be “tuned” to provide the precise range of EMI protection required for individual automotive systems. Thermal management properties can also be combined with EMI protection in a single ready-to-mold compound, which is advantageous because, like metal, it can be used in a dual role as an EMI shield and a heat sink.
RTP Company can also incorporate other performance enhancements during compounding, such as EMI absorbers, flame retardants and structural reinforcement. EMI compounds from RTP Company provide the design, fabrication, weight savings, and corrosion resistance advantages that injection moldable thermoplastics have over traditional metal materials used to provide EMI protection. Radar and sensing system components made with RTP Company’s EMI compounds provide consistent EMI shielding properties while minimizing total system cost. They feature molded-in shielding performance achieved in a single production step. This is a more reliable and economical approach than coating molded plastic parts with a conductive layer in a secondary process that increases manufacturing time and costs.
EMI shielding and other properties can be incorporated into a wide range of resin systems including popular nylons (PA), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polycarbonate (PC), or polyetherimide (PEI). All products from RTP Company are available worldwide through their global network of full-service facilities that provide technical support from design through production.

Source: RTP Company