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Arkema biomaterial adds durability to special soccer ball

Hardly noticed amid the hulabaloo surrounding the World Cup taking place in South Africa, global electronics giant Sony is supplying a special soccer ball to African children, which, thanks to a bio-TPE from French materials supplier Arkema, is 1.6 times more durable than a conventional ball.

The durability, and a healthy does of green, comes from Arkema's Pebax Renew, a castor oil-based thermoplastic elastomer used in one of the dual layers of Sony's "Join the Team!" soccer ball. Playing conditions in many African countries often are rough, so the added durability is highly desirable.

The soccer ball donation program is part of the "Earth F.C." project, aimed at drawing attention to the major health challenges confronting much of Africa, best known being the spread of AIDS. The Join the Team balls will be distributed to children by NGOs (non-governmental organizations), UNDP (United Nations Development Program), and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) during and after the World Cup in several African countries, including tournament host Republic of South Africa.

Arkema's Pebax Rnew is made of block copolymers consisting of a sequence of PA11 and polyether segments, whereas standard Arkema Pebax TPE uses segments of PA12 and polytetramethylene to achieve low material density relative to other TPEs. Pebax Rnew can be used neat, as an additive, or in blends with other polymers or rubbers.

To such properties of standard Pebax as low temperature stability, energy return/power transmission, and chemical and UV resistance, Pebax Rnew adds improved low-temperature flexibility and impact strength, higher flex fatigue resistance, and improved thermal resistance.

For more information on Earth F.C., go to www.sony.net/earthfc. Clicking on that site helps send more soccer balls to Africa kids; 1000 clicks = one ball. Rob Neilley

TAGS: Materials
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