The massive K 2016 trade fair, recently completed in Düsseldorf, offered a slew of new resin introductions and advanced material applications. Here are a few that caught our eye.
Covestro said it has developed a completely new carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite technology for the efficient manufacture of electronic housings and other components. The Leverkusen, Germany-based company said it’s making reinforced films and sheets that customers then can use to manufacture finished products.
The technology, dubbed Covestro CFRTP — for continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites — is based on films of endless unidirectional carbon fibers (UD films). Several layers of these films are positioned one on top of the other, cut and then laminated. This produces extremely stiff and lightweight composite sheets with no distortion or shrinkage. The number, direction and sequence of layers can be optimized for the relevant application.
The external appearance of the sheet blanks is different from typical semi-finished plastic materials. They have an “organic” grain pattern, feel cool – owing to their excellent thermal conductivity – and sound like metals on impact, according to David Hartmann, who is heading Covestro’s current push into thermoplastic composites, together with Dr. Michael Schmidt.
Polyscope Polymers BV
Polyscope, which specializes in production of styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) copolymers, has expanded its portfolio with the introduction of Xiloy, a polypropylene-based compound for the automotive market.
The new PP/SMA material is a 30% glass-filled injection molding compound targeted at applications requiring high stiffness and strength, such as instrument panels, Polyscope CEO Patrick Muezers said in an interview at the K show. He claims the new material’s composition allows it to avoid the shortcomings of current PP-based materials that are widely used in IPs, whose crystallinity tends to limit their ability to withstand internal stresses.
Muezers said that Xiloy delivers high thermal stability, dimensional stability and stiffness, making it suitable for parts that require high temperature resistance along with low mold shrinkage and warpage. The material already has passed critical airbag-deployment tests, he noted.
The new product complements the Dutch firm’s existing Xiran® portfolio of SMA/ABS compounds that automakers have been using in structural parts — such as sunroof frame systems — for many years.
Royal DSM NV
Chemicals and resins giant Royal DSM NV has launched ForTii®Ace, a polyphthalamide (PPA) based on 4T chemistry, that it is sees as a substitute for die-cast metals and expensive, high-performance engineering thermoplastics such as PEEK.
“Target applications include powertrain, transmission, chassis, and thermal management applications,” said Konraad Dullaert, DSM’s global business manager for ForTii, citing the new resin’s excellent mechanical, thermal and chemical properties. The material has a glass-transition temperature 160°C, which DSM says is higher than other PPAs, including existing ForTii grades, and at least 80°C higher than PA66. It also has higher resistance to various automotive oils and chemicals, even compared with PEEK, the company said.
Corbion NV at K launched a new brand name of Luminy® to cover its entire portfolio of polylactic acid (PLA) neat, bioplastic resins. It also showcased several partner applications — from packaging to consumer electronics, automotive to agriculture. These included high-heat PLA applications such as a computer mouse and single-use coffee cups, and other diverse uses, ranging from root protection containers for rubber trees to a BioFoam surfboard from Synbra.
Just a couple weeks after the show concluded, Corbion announced it was joining forces with French oil and gas company Total SA to develop bioplastics by creating a 50/50 joint venture to produce and market PLA polymers. The partners plan to build a PLA polymerization plant with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes per year at Corbion’s site in Thailand.
Vertellus Speciality Materials
As it works its way through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Indianapolis-based chemical and polymer additives producer Vertellus used the K show to introduce three new ZeMac® masterbatches for enhancing polyamide compounding and to showcase its Citroflex® bio-based plasticizers.
The first two new masterbatches — ZeMac Extend L65 and L68 — are chain extenders and branching agents that convert low relative viscosity (RV) nylon to branched high RV PA with higher mechanical and thermal performance than linear high RV nylon. These masterbatches also can be used for upgrading recycled or prime nylon compounds, said Dr. Ashok Adur, global commercial development director for plastics at Vertellus.
The third masterbatch, ZeMac Extend P62, is now the only product on the market that can smoothly compatibilize PA and recycled PET to reduce material costs, Adur said.
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