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Engineering resins: into the '90s.


Consistent with the growing interest and confidence of designers in applying engineering plastics, many new resin grades and material systems were launched in 1990. The process will continue this year as product challenges expand and competition tightens.

Akzo Engineering Plastics, Inc.

Improved static dissipation and internally lubricated materials were introduced in 1990. Polypropylene-based Electrafil alloy, for tote bins, chip carriers, printed circuit board racks, conveyor parts, ordinance handling, hospital equipment, and computer room furniture, offers static dissipative permanence, non-humidity-depenent protectin, no sloughing or blooming, colorability, and processing properties similar to those of unmodified resins. Akzo's internally lubricated thermoplastics incorporate a blend of polymeric lubricants, including poloytetrafluoroethylene.

Allied-Signal Engineered Plastics

Dimension, a blend of nylon and polyphenylene ether, is the first of the new Synergy resin series. Allied also will focus on tapping the plastic waste stream as a raw material source for development of more economical blends, using proprietary compatibilizer technology. A polyester/ polycarbonate blend, offering heat performance, chemical resistance, and impact properties, will be field tested in the third quarter. Also to be commercialized in 1991: a high impact, fast cycling nylon 6 and filled derivatives, including blow-molding grades. For packaging, nucleated food grade resins and improved oxygen barrier blends will be added.

Amoco Performance Products Inc.

Two new Polyphenylsulfones were introduced in 1990-the Radel R-5000 series (including a transparent, V-0, general-purpose grade; R-5100, opaque natural and black; and 10%, 20%, and 30% glass filled grades) for chemical- and steam sterilization-resistant medical applications; and R-which 7000, complies with new FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) regulations concerning heat release, smoke generation, and toxic gas emissions in commercial aircraft interiors.

Also commercialized were Radel A200MR, with ratings up to 100 amps and heat deflection temperature of 400 degrees F, for automotive electrical fuses; Radel AG360 (HDT of 394 degrees F), for automotive lamp sockets, battery insulators, and alternator and starter motor components; and higher heat Mindel S-2000, for automobile reflectors.

Amoco Torlon Products, Inc., a fabricated parts division, now provides Amotech products such as bearings, seals, wear rings, bushings, and ingots (up to 18 inches in diameter) of Torlon polyamideimide, Kadel polyketone, and Udel polysulfone.

A semiaromatic, semicrystalline polymer (HDT of 545 degrees F) coming this year will bridge the traditional engineering thermoplastics and the liquid crystal polymers.

ARCO Chemical Company The "synergistic systems" approach continues to be implemented for applications where structure and energy management with light weight are required, such as automotive front ends, instrument panels, and interior door panels with increased side impact protection. Other 1990 activities: the joint venture with Mitsui Toatsu to make and market Dylark resins in Japan; the acquisition of Union Carbide polyols; and the completion of a CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) phaseout program for Arpro expanded polypropylene bead, used for energy absorbing bumper cores and packaging of fragile high-value items. All the company's foam products are now CFC-free, except for Arpak expanded polyethylene bead, which is slated for CFC elimination this year.

Potential new applications for both virgin and recycled Dylite EPS include retaining walls and bridge abutments for heavy construction, to replace dirt and add dimensional stability. In a groundwater management system (under development with EZL Drain Co.), Dylite EPS would replace conventional heavy and expensive gravel. One- to two-inch EPS cubes, shaped and contained by polyethylene netting, surround a perforated polyethylene or PVC pipe. R&D efforts involving the company's foam products are increasingly focused on developing uses for recycled materials, as well as on reducing or eliminating volatile organic compounds. Programs accent reusable packaging, notably for the Arcel resins.

Ashland Chemical, Inc.

The Phase Alpha polyester resin system, from Ashland's Composite Polymers Division, is extensively used for the exterior body panels of GM's new minivan line and the Ford Aerostar liftgate. Uses continue on the Chevrolet Corvette and various medium- and heavy-duty truck hoods.

The Arotran RTM system was selected for the 1990 Lotus Elan for all exterior body panels and noncosmetic interior structural applications, and it was also chosen for a removable hardtop for the Chevrolet Corvette.

Sales dropped off significantly in 1990 in the marine market, where Ashland has been active with its AME 4000 marine resin for high performance boats. Sales were strong, however, for the Hetron vinyl ester and the Aropol isophthalic resins for corrosion resistance. The company is looking to the Clean Air Act and other environmental initiatives to generate additional business.

Work continues on improved automotive, low smoke/low flame, and light-curing materials. A light-curing resin that may have specialty niche uses is in the commercialization stage.

BASF Corp., Plastic Materials Ultramid T KR 4350, a 6/6T partially crystalline nylon copolymer with low water absorption (only 6% at saturation) was introduced in 1990. Glass-, mineral-, and carbon-fiber-reinforced grades are available.

New Ultrapek polyaryletherketone (PAEK) resins offer continuous use temperatures to 480 degrees F (and for brief exposures, to about 570 degrees F), high mechanical load capacity, and excellent resistance to wear, hydrolysis, environmental stress cracking, chemicals, and high energy radiation. Tensile strength is unaffected by a radiation dose of 1000 Mrad at 392 degrees F Unreinforced and mineral reinforced grades are available. BASF says that Ultrapek has very low flammability, and, as tested per ASTM E 662-83, the lowest smoke density of all known thermoplastics.

Two new transparent, amorphous, inherently flame retardant Ultrason polyethersulfone resins, Ultrason E 1010 and E 2010, with continuous use temperatures to about 3600F, exhibit excellent creep resistance. At room temperature under constant stress up to 500 psi, the materials' strain is less than 2.0% after 10,000 hrs.

BASF also broadened its range of Ultraform acetal coploymers with new wear resistant and high flow, specially lubricated grades, N 2380 and H 2380. The materials' sliding coefficient of friction is about a third less, and their sliding wear rate is more than half less, than the general-purpose grades.

Impact modified acetal copolymer resins with very high melt flow (twice that of the general-purpose grades), for injection molded parts with less than 1/16inch-thick wall sections and adverse ratios of runner lengths to wall thickness, also are now available.

Dow Plastics

Medical grade resins introduced in early 1990 included the Magnum 2600 Series ABS. With USP XXII Class VI classification, the resins meet physicochemical, hemolysis, and cytotoxicity standards and are compatible with ethylene oxide gas and gamma radiation sterilization. Dow Plastics announced a surface treatment technology that provides wettability, by reducing air bubble adhesion on plastic surfaces, and thromboresistance, which inhibits blood clot formation. The treatment is usable with most plastics except fluorocarbon-based materials. For the electronics market, Dow introduced Pulse 1725 polycarbonate/ABS resin, offering improved heat distortion and impact resistance. Its notched Izod value is 10 ft-lb/ in. Calibre 1 01 CD provides high purity, excellent melt flow rate, low moisture absorption, high heat resistance, and good impact strength.

The latest additions to Dow Plastics' thermosets are experimental polymers, derived from bisbenzocyclobutene monomers, designed for thin film coating applications. The resins offer improved moisture resistance, dielectrics, and processing. Also announced in late 1990 were bisphenol-A based D.E.R. 6225 epoxy resin, intended for hybrid powder coatings; and D.E.H. 87, a nonaccelerated epoxy curing agent that facilitates production of powder coatings with increased flexibility and increased resistance to chemicals and solvents.

Du Pont Company

Introduced in 1990 was a flexible nylon alloy, Zytel FN, which offers a balance of flexibility and toughness at extreme temperatures. Applications now commercial or under development include grease and oil-resistant seals and gaskets, fuel tank heat shields, air resonators, and impact resistant fasteners and ski boots. Zytel FN reflects the company's commitment to persist in nylon product innovation and performance-including new high temperature nylons and completion of the development of nylon 1212 sometime this year.

Other expected new materials include a nylon alloy based on elastomeric thermoplastic technology; new modifiers to improve the toughness and flow of ABS and aimed at polymer recovery; and an Elvaloy HP resin modifier product line, which is intended to enhance low temperature flexibility in permanently plasticized PVC grades.

The Delrin acetal resin plant in Dordrecht, The Netherlands, was certified to ISO 9000 quality standards in 1990, the third of Du Pont's plants in Europe to be so designated. The company expects to have all of its U.S. engineering polymers plants ISO certified by the end of this year.

Six new grades of Delrin acetal resin, and the opening of a new plant in Singapore, demonstrate continuing activity in the acetal homopolymers. Three more Delrin resins are expected this year. New Rynite polyesters to be introduced in 1991 are a color stable resin for the appliance industry, a new resin for the connector market, and one for the furniture industry.

Hytrel polyester elastomer foam was developed for recreational footwear midsoles and for the medical industry. Fine-tuning this year will include Hytrel film for wound care products and operating gowns.

In 1990, the Plastics Recycling Alliance, a joint venture of Du Pont and Waste Management, Inc., opened recycling plants in Philadelphia and Chicago. The venture's third plant is planned for this year.

Eastman Performance Plastics

New grades of EKTAR polymers were introduced in 1990. Ektar FB CG907 polymer, a tougher, flame-retardant grade of PCT, offering substantial improvements in melt stability, is used primarily in connectors and sockets for printed circuit boards. The company also entered the international markets, notably in Japan and southeast Asia, where demands for surface-mountable printed circuit board components are expanding faster than in North America.

Also introduced was Ektar DN003 polymer, a mold release copolyester grade for board use in medical devices; and Ektar GN002 polymer, a PETG copolyester-based molding grade for thicker walled devices. The product is now used in renal therapy. Additional grades of Ektar MB polymers offer molded-in color benefits, and higher flow and low knit line visibility for large single gated parts and thin wall economies. Clear, UV stabilized grades also were introduced for applications such as lawn and garden tractor lenses.

For cookware, several new colors were added for Ektar EG212, a PET-based formulation with improved moldability and surface finish. New clear polymers featuring higher modulus and lower costs are scheduled for early this year. A cooperative venture with Toray Industries, Inc., a worldwide supplier of engineering plastics and OPET film, also was announced in 1990.

Product line expansions this year are expected to include specialty grades of flame retardant PCT compounds, including high flow, glass reinforced materials; new PET compounds with improved moldability; several new polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) compounds; and initial grades of liquid crystal polymers.

GE Plastics

Introduction in 1990 of Valox HV7065 resin, a 65% mineral filled PBT called Heavy Valox, broke new ground. The product has the touch, feel, and aesthetic qualities of glass, ceramic, porcelain, ivory, and metal, yet still provides the advantages of engineering thermoplastics. Initially targeted for the plumbing, building and construction, packaging, and housewares markets, the material has a specific gravity of 2.4, exceptional processability, and a flexural modulus of 760,000 psi. Heavy Valox provides decorative freedom for the end-user and complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

This year, GE plans to expand its Heavy Valox line with up to twelve new grades, including extrudable and thermo-formable, flame retardant, and blowmoldable, with specific gravities ranging from 1.8 to 3.3. Higher heat versions, with temperature resistance from 450 degrees F to 500 degrees F, versus 385OF for the current grades, will be available.

Another new PBT resin, based on new glass fiber technology developed by GE Plastics and Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., is Valox HS433, a 33% glass reinforced higher tensile strength polyester for structural applications.

For commercial aircraft interiors, a family of high heat polyetherimides, the Ultem 1668 sheet and Ultem 9000 resin series of unfilled and glass filled products, exceeds FAA requirements. The materials offer low smoke generation, improved flammability properties, and excellent chemical resistance.

Also introduced in 1990 were three optical quality grades of Lexan-OQ3120, OQ3420, and OQ3820 polycarbonate, with melt flows of 22, 10, and 6, respectively. Introduction of the Lexan PK series provides eleven new FDA-compliant grades with a broad range of viscosities for injection molding, injection blowmolding, and extrusion blowmolding. Four new ABS/PBT Cycolin alloys, based on G-Series technology, are targeted where more chemical resistance is required than straight ABS can provide. Lexan Thermoclear double walled, impact resistant sheet for uses such as greenhouses, pool fences, and basement windows also was announced.

GE Plastics will also expand its thermoplastic elastomer line this year by adding up to eighteen grades, including alloys, blends, and fillers to broaden the Lomod resins. Also anticipated are new Cycolac ABS static dissipative grades and a low temperature impact grade with a notched Izod impact strength of 4.5 at 400 F; new super high heat ABS automotive grades; expansion of the G-Series line, and introduction of new low gloss grades for car interiors.

Alloys based on polyphenylene oxide resins will be another focus, with new under-the-hood and exterior products expected. The company also will expand its Noryl HM and FM series for high modulus appliance and business equipment structural bases and chassis; and its Ultem polyetherimide copolymer resins with a chemical resistant series.

Hercules inc.

In late 1990, the Metton liquid molding resins, based on dicyclopentadiene, were complemented with the purchase of Structon, a liquid moldable structural resin system, from Du Pont Neochem, Inc., Quebec. Targeted for structures requiring fiber loadings of 25% to 70%, Structon LMR is a low viscosity liquid saturated polyester urethane resin system comprising two reactive streams mixed in a 1:1 ratio and molded at low pressures and temperatures.

New applications in 1990 expanded the company's market penetration with Metton resins. This year, Hercules will supplement activities in recreational products with a developmental focus on materials handling components, including parts for the handling of highly corrosive chemicals.

Hoechst Celanese Corp.

Among the 1990 offerings of the Engineering Plastics Division were Celcon SR90, a scuff- and scratch-resistant acetal copolymer with natural low gloss matte finish and colorability for high wear in office furniture, control panels, appliances, and luggage; and Vectra C810 liquid crystal polymer, claimed to be the first platable LCP. The material can be plated with copper, nickel, or gold with conventional masking and imaging techniques and can be molded with a nonplatable LCP grade to achieve three-dimensional interconnects. Only the Vectra C810 surfaces selectively accept the metal plating. Vectra E130 LCP, also new, has an HDT of 270 degrees C and high flowability.

Ultraviolet stabilized Celanese 6/6 nylons, unfilled, glass filled, and high impact grades, are available in a full range of color with no appreciable loss in properties. Until recently, UV stabilized nylons were only in black, and with reduced physical properties.

Riteflex BP 9056 also was announced. The thermoplastic polyester elastomer for automotive fascias features easy processing, Class A paintability without primer or adhesion promoter, and low temperature properties.

Coming in 1991: lower-cost, specific end-use LCP grades, either with new polymers or by blending; and two new polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) gradesFortron 1140L6, a 40% glass reinforced resin with superior flow for hard-to-fill parts such as high-density, high-pin-count connectors; and Fortron 4184L4, a lower cost, glass reinforced grade with a balanced property mix offering higher clongation, better mechanical properties, and greater arc resistance than competitive reinforced materials.

Also under development are improved impact-modified and wear-resistant grades of Fortron PPS; platable grades for automobile headlight reflectors for lamps using high temperature halogen bulbs; UV stabilized grades of Vandar thermoplastic alloys; Celanex thermoplastic polyesters; and Riteflex BP thermoplastic polyester elastomer alloys with molded-in color.

A new 15% glass reinforced Impet thermoplastic polyester, EKX 111, for gas-assisted injection molding, offers excellent finish, good stiffness, and cost effectiveness.

Hoechst Celanese, together with its European counterparts, is exploring the concept of multi-modulus parts in a single injection molding. Compatible resins such as Riteflex BP elastomers and Vandar alloys can provide fenders, for example, with hard attachment points, possibly with snap fits, and soft exterior portions.

This year, the company will introduce ultra-high-flow Celcon acetal copolymers, with melt indexes from 52 to 90, for thin wall, difficult-to-fill parts. Until recently, a melt index of 45 was considered high-end acetal. Several impact modified, low melt index acetal copolymer grades for extrusion and blowmolding also are expected, as are additional extrusion grades for rod and slab producers.

A new cadmium-free pigmentation system for Celcon standard and custom color concentrates was announced. The UV stabilized, weather resistant UV-Z series grades will also be formulated using the totally cadmium-free pigmentation system.

ICI Advanced Materials Added in 1990 were Maranyl AD-427, an unreinforced, nonhalogenated, nonphosphorous, melamine based, flame retardant nylon 6/6 formulation. A new Lubricomp reduced-cost series of high performance, internally lubricated thermoplastic composites, offering improved wear resistance and available in acetal, nylon, and polycarbonate resin families, also was introduced.

Polystyrene-based Stat-Kon C-AS also was commercialized. It is a colorable, permanent antistat formulation that does not contain conductive fillers or fibers or depend upon humidity for antistat performance. The company says the formulation eliminates contamination due to blooming-type additives or carbon sloughing. Also, a new series of statically conductive materials, based on polycarbonate (Stat-Kon DX-3 and DX-7), was developed for extrusion into sheet and film. Blemish-free film has been extruded down to 3 mils. Another statically conductive formulation with molded-in colorability, Stat-Kon DS, based on a loading of stainless steel fiberisotropically dispersed in a polycarbonate matrix, eliminates a secondary coating step to achieve desired ESD protection.

ICI's Victrex product line has been extended with PEEK 150 FP, a rotomolding grade for less costly production of large, high temperature hollow structures.

A new family of epoxy molding compounds supplied by ICI Fiberite Molding Materials combines the mechanical strength and toughness of thermoplastics with the thermal properties and dimensional stability of traditional epoxies. The TEM 9000 series, available in glass-, mineral-, short-glass-, long-glass-, and carbon-fiber-reinforced grades, uses a specially designed thermoplastic to modify the structure of the cured epoxy resin matrix, notably for electrical connectors and other commercial and military components.

ICI expects more emphasis on polyethersulfone blends for electrical/ electronic and aerospace; reinforced thermoplastics for automotive and industrial; high temperature antistatic chip carrier materials for business machines; a broadening of pultruded, long-fiber thermoplastic composites; and growth of antistatic polystyrene and polypropylene composites for sheet and film extrusion.

Moby Corp.

In 1990, Mobay's Polyurethane Division introduced Prism, a noncellular, rigid polyurethane for reaction injection molding (RIM) large, stiff, 1/8-inch-thick parts. Also offered was a low staining, semirigid Bayfill 360 polyurethane foam system for instrument panels. The formulation reduces susceptibility to staining of some cast vinyl skin panels in hot, humid climates. Two new polyurethanes, Bayflex 435 for lighter weight midsoles with improved light stability, and Bayflex 291 for durable, transparent outsoles, also were commercialized. The company also says that its Mondur MRS-2.5 isocyanate and foam system will increase design flexibility for products such as car seating and headrests (see PE, January 1991, p. 23).

Rigid foam systems for appliances that reduce CFCs were announced in 1990. Two new silicone surfactants, with CFC-water 11 blends as blowing agents, help to produce fine-cell foams with improved flow properties and thermal conductivity k-factors. Mobay says that among polyurethane developments predicted for the near future are molded-in color with added ultraviolet stability; doubled production rates of RIM machines with new-concept horizontal presses; capability of molding parts weighing more than 100 lbs; and fast reacting materials with demold times of only 30 to 60 sec.

Mobay's Plastics and Rubber Division commercialized Bayblend FR 90 polycarbonate/ABS resin, an unreinforced flame retardant grade with no chlorine, bromine, or antimony oxide additives. Easy processability, inherent color stability, and excellent surface appearance are among the product's claimed characteristics. For automotive exteriors and interiors, the company introduced Bayblend DP2-1446, an amorphous, unreinforced polycarbonate/ABS with improved chemical resistance. Also introduced by Mobay in 1990 were Apec DP9-9350, an amorphous, high heat (HDT of 325 degrees F at 264 psi) transparent polycarbonate resin with improved ultraviolet light stability, for lighting and other transparent-applications; Makrolon AL-2447, a polycarbonate resin for automotive headlamp lenses with enhanced flow and release characteristics; and Optipol 7001 and 7002, two new optical fiber products, made with cores of ultrahigh clarity polycarbonate and targeted to replace copper wire in auto computer systems.

Monsanto Chemical Company

Monsanto's Plastics Division launched a number of new products in 1990. Plateoutand bloom-resistant CBE-1, a flame retardant PVC/high-heat ABS alloy for business machines, was the result of an alliance with Vista Chemical Co. The Lustran Elite HH 1800 series provides additional heat resistance for auto interior parts, and the company says its CadonG series of precompounded glass reinforced SMAS, for instrument panels and consoles, provides up to 25% greater flexural properties and improved molding capabilities, compared with competitive SMA. Lustran Sparkle SAN, marketed to the houseware, medical, cosmetic, and other industries, provides enhanced resin clarity.

Advanced Elastomer Systems, the partnership of Monsanto and Exxon Chemical Co., expects to introduce TPE 3000 for medical uses and TPE 4000 for automotive under-the-hood uses. The company's developments continued with flocked Santoprene rubber-this colorable polyester and nylon fiber covered material, with sealing and vibration damping characteristics, is used in automotive and construction applications.
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Author:Wigotsky, Victor
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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