Compound kills SARS, possibly other viruses

RESINS/COMPOUNDS

Compound kills SARS, possibly other viruses

A patent-pending thermoset compound, which processes like a phenolic resin, is the first tested and proved to kill the debilitating disease, SARS. According to the producer it also kills a wide variety of other bacteria, yeasts, and molds on contact. During K 2004, the supplier will feature the material in potential applications such as toilet seats, door handles, baby changing tables, and public phones. Earlier this year the supplier presented test results done on the material at a building and construction conference in China. Testing was conducted by independent laboratories in Italy and China, with testing done using molded parts.

The new material is part of the supplier''s Polygiene range for products that require highly hygienic surfaces. The anti-SARS compound is nontoxic and does not release any volatile organic compounds, says Luigi Mocchie, managing director at Perstorp Compounds. The company introduced Polygiene antibacterial grades in 2001 and has since seen demand increase 400%.

The material is also being tested now to determine its effectivenss against other viruses including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), bird flu, and pseudomonas. The anti-SARS compound can be processed by either injection or compression molding, says Mocchia, and a part''s surface is permanently hygienically clean. There is no need for sterilization. The active substance is evenly distributed throughout the compound and human transmission of the virus is killed in less than two hours.

Perstorp will not identify the anti-viral agent other than to say it "builds upon the inherent antimicrobial and anti-viral properties of the amino base resins and enhances this by use of a second-generation antiseptic additive." First commercial use is in a Milan hotel which is having bathroom fixtures molded. The material is available globally and processors need make no adjustment to their equipment to process the material. Perstorp Compounds AB, Perstorp, Sweden; +46 435 38364; www.perstorpcompounds.com

Moldable CF compound said to outperform competition

Billed as the highlight of this supplier''s K 2004 stand, Vyntec is targeted at metal replacement and marketed to processors for automotive pump parts, high-performance pistons and bearings, shielding, and other applications where high temperature resistance is critical. The manufacturer says this is the first commercialized short carbon fiber (CF) phenolic compound on the market and says it is less costly than CF-reinforced polyetheretherketone (PEEK). The first processor of the material is said to be an unidentified vehicle parts producer.

Albert Cardon, senior research scientist at Vyncolit, says the material beats carbon fiber reinforced PEEK in flexural strength and E-modulus, and exhibits lower swelling at constant temperatures of 150°C. He says the easy-flowing compound does not require high injection pressure to successfully fill molds. Nor does the extruder temperature need to be abnormally high to process it. Carbon fiber loading is application specific and can be up to 60%. Density is from 1.35 to 1.55 g/cu cm. Vyncolit NV, Gent, Belgium; +32 9265 2141; www.vyncolit.com

PPS chosen for turbocharger pipes

Ticona and German blowmolding machinery manufacturer SIG Kautex (Bonn) developed Fortron 1115L0, a special glass-fiber-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) blowmolding grade, plus the technology to make auto engine turbocharger air pipes in a single operation. Ticona believes this material will replace a complex design consisting of aluminum pipes and fluoroelastomer tubes. The supplier says there is a considerable cost-benefit improvement, as well as application advantages.

The pipes go on the "hot" side of the charge-air section, between the turbocharger outlet and the intercooler, where pressures reach 2 bar and temperatures rise to 205°C. Ticona says Fortron PPS has the heat resistance required for use in the charge-air system. It is a stable polymer, which also exhibits permeation behavior and chemical resistance. Because of its high melt strength and viscosity, it can be processed using blowmolding (or in this case, 3-D suction blowmolding, which enables production of parts with complicated geometries while creating little flash). A flexible coupling connection is integral to the pipe. The part shown here is made by Solvay Automotive. Ticona, Kelsterbach, Germany; +49 69 30516299; www.ticona.com

PEEK used in semiconductor equipment

Singaporean semiconductor equipment and systems manufacturer AEM-Evertech Holdings Ltd. says it is reaping the benefits from switching its material design from 40% glass-fiber-filled PPS to polyetheretherketone (PEEK). Since the first quarter 2003, the company has been using PEEK to make holder parts for its range of chemical plating machines, which are sold mainly into semiconductor component and IC companies in China.

The holders form an integral part of the plating machines, as they physically carry the semiconductor lead frames or connectors within the customers'' precise and controlled plating environments. As such, the selected material needs to be smooth and nonporous to avoid surface deposition of microparticles, which could form an undesirable conductive path.

Using PEEK, the company has achieved good holder part quality, better plating efficiency, and longer part life, as well as realizing an overall cost advantage over alternative materials. In addition, it has contributed to improved machine reliability, lower machine maintenance, and reduced downtime. The firm has also overcome problems associated with outgassing and particle generation experienced with PPS. Victrex Plc, Cleveleys, England; +44 1253 897701; www.victrex.com

BASF launches heat-, flame-resistant nylons

BASF has developed a high-temperature-resistant nylon 66 that it believes is fit to take on higher priced "high-temperature" semi-crystalline nylons (HTNs) like nylon 46 and polyphthalamide in automotive underhood applications where temperatures can get as high as 200°C. Its price will be between regular nylon 66 and these HTNs, but closer to the former.

Properties are achieved in Ultramid A3WG10 HS Black 20560 through a stabilizer package and a 50% glass loading. Mechanical properties after 1000 hours of heat aging at 190°C are comparable to those of HTNs (graph), says Ultramid marketer Jochen Engelmann. Customer trials report good surface finish, despite its high glass content. Processing conditions are the same as for a regular nylon 66 compound, with no need for the high melt- and mold temperatures typical of HTNs. "The material is extraordinarily easy to vibration-weld, with the weld strength remaining excellent even after heat aging," Engelmann adds.

Another new grade, Ultramid B3U HF, is a high-flow, unreinforced nylon 6 with a halogen-free flame retardant, suitable for thinwalled housings of electrical equipment that require a UL94 V-0 rating. It reportedly retains such typical nylon properties as impact strength, good surface finish, and environmental stress-cracking resistance.

Another halogen-free FR nylon 6 for circuit breakers is Ultramid B3UM4. A low-cost mineral filler provides cost savings while keeping losses in mechanical performance to a minimum. Grade A3UG5 is a flame-retardant and reinforced nylon 66 that contains no halogen or red phosphorous. A pale flame-retardant additive (details are confidential) makes it possible to formulate V-0 compounds that are freely colorable. High stiffness and impact strength are cited, as well as low density compared with halogenated compounds. BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany; +49 621 600; www.basf.de/plastics

Elastomer grade provides good bounce to sports shoes

A new Pebax grade polyether-block-amide elastomer combines good performance with transparency and color pigmentation for good visual effects on sports and leisure items. Designed for sports-shoe soles and components, the material is easy to process and its low density helps reduce weight without detracting from mechanical properties. Atofina developed this material as a foam in cooperation with Alveo. Atofina, Paris, France; +33 1 49008080; www.atofina.com; Alveo AG, Luzern, Switzerland; +41 41 2289292; www.alveo.com

Clearer, tougher SBS helps add value

Styrolux 3G 33 is an addition to the third generation of styrene/butadiene/styrene block copolymers (SBS) BASF introduced three years ago. Injection grade Styrolux 3G 33 is characterized by even better clarity than the initial extrusion grade, 3G 55, and includes a very good combination of toughness and stiffness. Marketer Daniel Wagner highlights its compatibility with general-purpose polystyrene (PS), which results in only a slight increase in haze when the two are mixed.

Compared to existing injection grade Styrolux 656 C, which has similar stiffness, 3G 33 is significantly more ductile and resistant to impact. Cycle times can be reduced owing to good melt flow and easy demolding. Features such as integral hinges and snap-fits are possible. Target applications include office equipment, toys and household, housing covers, as well as cosmetics packaging. It has been proven in blends for extrusion applications, notably thick thermoformable sheet. BASF sees 3G 33 competing with other transparent materials-PET, PVC, acrylics-in segments such as clear tableware where until recently SBS was not appropriate. BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany; +49 621 600; www.basf.de/plastics

ADDITIVES

Nucleating concentrate permits introduction during processing

A new grade of Hyperform, HI5-5, a concentrated form of its existing nucleating agent family, allows polypropylene (PP) processors to determine the optimal approach in using high-speed nucleation to boost productivity and enhance product quality. Previously the material needed to be added to PP at the polymer manufacturers'' level. With this grade, injection molders and extruders of opaque PP are able to dose during production. This new grade compliments the existing HPN-68L high-speed nucleator, which is also available in concentrate form. Both grades allow productivity improvements of up to 25% compared to non-nucleated PP. Milliken, Spartanburg, SC, USA; www.millikenchemical.com

Color concentrate FDA approved

Covering both short-term food-contact applictions like straws, cups, and spoons, as well as prolonged food-contact in packaging and storage containers, a recent FDA decision clears Chromicolor color concentrates for use in food-contact applications.

Chromicolor''s manufacturer, Matsui International, says the decision validates the concentrate for use by processors who might have resisted undertaking safety evaluation tests on their own.

Meeting all FDA-applicable food-additive reulations, Chromicolor PP Conc BW color conentrates can be used with polypropylene packaging for aqueous, acidic, low-alcohol, and dry foods as well as PP containers handling fatty and high-alcohol foods. Matsui International Inc., Gardena, CA, USA; +1-310-767-7812; www.matsui-color.com

REFERENCE WORKS

Plasticizers handbook gives worthwhile information

A recently published "Handbook of Plasticizers," edited by George Wypych, provides a wealth of information on additives to make plastics applications flexible. The book includes historical data, classifications and definitions by plasticizer type, ways to insure plasticizer quality, and theories about compatibility. Quite helpful for processors is the section on processing methods, which targets specifics for particular markets. Besides the book ($295), a separate CD (also $295) is available with what the publisher says is the world''s most comprehensive database on plasticizers. ChemTec Publishing, Toronto, ON, Canada; +1-416 265-2603; www.chemtec.org

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