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Nouryon launches Expancel HP92 grade for the automotive industry, which also withstands high pressure manufacturing processes.

Stephen Moore

June 14, 2022

2 Min Read
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Image courtesy of PG Alamy/Arphexad

Nouryon has debuted its Expancel HP92 microspheres, an innovation that is breaking boundaries for thermoplastic microsphere fillers in high-pressure manufacturing processes for the automotive industry. Lightweight materials are in high demand from automotive manufacturers to meet increasingly strict emission regulations and strong consumer interest in fuel-efficient vehicles that do not compromise on performance or passenger comfort.

"The ability to produce lightweight solutions for our key markets presents tremendous growth opportunities for Nouryon as our customers increasingly focus on implementing more sustainable solutions,” said Johan Landfors, President, Technology Solutions. “Our customers in the transportation industry are looking for innovations that address several technical requirements in one product and we are proud to support them with a solution that not only improves fuel efficiency and enhances acoustics and seals for harsh weather conditions but also supports the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions."

Expancel microspheres consist of a polymer shell that encapsulates a gas. When heated, the gas expands allowing the microspheres to be used as a lightweight filler and blowing agent to make end products lighter and obtain different surface effects. They also reduce costs and environmental impacts by requiring less raw material and reducing weight.

Expancel grades are also available from Nouryon for use as blowing agents in automotive weather strips, artificial leather, polyurethane shoe soles, silicone rubber, and thermoplastics. Another supply source for such beads is Japan’s Kureha, with its eponymous Microsphere range.

“When used in underbody coatings and sealants, Expancel HP92 microspheres allow our customers in the automotive industry to use high-pressure application processes on surfaces with up to four times better volume recovery to its original shape after pressurization compared to an older grade of thermoplastic microsphere,” said Sylvia Winkel Pettersson, Vice President, Engineered Polymers. “Our technology is aimed at combining and optimizing the pressure resistance associated with glass microsphere grades with the light weight of thermoplastic microspheres fillers in one refined solution.”

Expancel HP92 microspheres are currently produced in Stockvik, Sweden, with production expected in Green Bay, WI, in early 2023, and will be available globally through the Nouryon distribution network.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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