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Soft PVC plasticisers for easy processing.

At the recent PVC 2011 conference in Brighton, a paper was presented on Flexidone plasticisers (N-alkyl pyrrolidones) and their superior performance over phthalate systems. Entitled Cost-Effective Plasticizer Systems With Superior Properties, the presentation discussed and presented data on the commercial and experimental use of Flexidone in various soft PVC applications. Sam Anson, British Plastics & Rubber Editor, found out more.

Pyrrolidones that consist of a flexible non-polar alkyl chain (varying from C8 to C18) with a compact hydrophilic head, sold under the brand of Flexidone plasticisers, are recognised for their excellent performance and processability as well as versatility of use. The paper, presented at PVC 2011 by ISP Chemical Engineer Hasan Kaytan and Martin Bonnet of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany, examined the advantages of PVC systems incorporating Flexidone in combination with other complexes and plasticisers such as fatty acid ester and chlorine ester. The authors examined Flexidone's properties such as gelling curve, viscosity stability, indentation hardness, tensile strength and more.

According to the authors, Flexidone plasticisers have been used in various trials and new product developments in the past three years. Not only do they lend better performance in a wide array of products such as footwear, flooring and wiring, but they have been shown to be more efficient plasticisers, enabling PVC manufacturers to use a lower amount to achieve comparable performance. This benefit means cost savings from lower energy use during processing. Moreover, by mixing different ratios of co-plasticisers or esters, PVC manufacturers can customise performance for differing tensile strength and elongation at break.

"Our paper examined the entire gamut of Flexidone performance specifications, from solubilising temperatures for various alkyl chain lengths to indentation hardness at low temperatures to cold flexibility thresholds. By comparing these specifications to other commonly used plasticisers such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), we show how Flexidone products can provide better value and performance," said Kaytan. "We want to demonstrate to the industry through comprehensive data how Flexidone can expand options available to PVC manufacturers."

According to ISP, an advantage of the Flexidone family is the wide array of choices available to manufacturers. The paper provided insight into various Flexidone products such as 300, 500, 350FE, 333FE, 550FE and 533FE, which offer varying elongation, shore hardness and other performance criteria. The FE products also provide stable, low-viscosity plastisols with excellent shelf life and fast-fusing properties, which allows their use in various manufacturing processes such as extrusion, calendaring and injection moulding.

For example, data cited in the paper show that plastisots formulated with Flexidone 333FE and 533FE exhibited the greatest viscosity stability after a prolonged period. Because they maintain nearly the same viscosity 28 days after production, manufacturers can achieve a wider processing window as a result. Moreover, Flexidone FE improves the gelling behaviour of PVC products, with grades 333FE and 350FE, exhibiting the fastest-gelling behaviour among all the grades and a DINR
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Title Annotation:vinyls
Publication:British Plastics & Rubber
Date:May 1, 2011
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