Dow Chemical, Midland, MI, will discontinue production of its Blox thermoplastic epoxy resins by mid-2003, confirming earlier reports (Aug 02 MP, 34; MPI, 39). It will seek to sell its 10-million-lb/yr Blox plant in Freeport, TX, as well as patents and know-how, including more than one dozen grades under development and their underlying reactive extrusion technology, by the end of this quarter.
Blox has been commercial since January 2000. It combines epoxy’s durability and adhesion with thermoplastics’ flexibility and processability. About 10 processors, most in North America, use it as an additive for starch-based loose-fill packaging “peanuts” to make them more durable, or as the coating on polyolefin fibers used in concrete.
Blox offers barrier performance and Dow had foreseen a good market in barrier layers for PET bottles. However, market development has been slow, the company admits. Bottles using the material were commercial in Europe for six months in 2001, but the customer stopped using them because the impact of high-volume use on the recyclability of PET is undetermined.