New copolymer able to make the most of polyolefins and polyamide

Already commercial in a few applications, Apolhya is a new polymer family that combines the properties of polyamides with those of polyolefins. It offers thermal stability that beats that of polyolefins, says its supplier, Arkema, as well as greater flexibility than conventional polyamides.
 
According to Arkema’s Dominique Jousset, Apolhya business manager, the family of materials is comprised not of blends of polyolefins and polyamides, both of which Arkema offers, but rather the material is a copolymer: a comb-block-copolymer to be precise. The properties of polyamides are combined with those of polyolefins by producing co-continuous morphologies on the copolymers on a nanometric scale.
 
Jousset says the material is not based on a specific polyolefin but rather is a copolymer, generally containing some ethylene as a co-monomer. The composition of the copolymer can vary to a large extent according to grades and applications needs such as mechanical properties, thermal resistance, chemical resistance or transparency requirements, she stated in response to questions from MPW.
 
Regardless of the composition, Arkema is able to propose nanostructured polymers, with very stable morphology during further processing (injection molding, extrusion, blowmolding), she added.
 
According to the supplier, the entire Apolhya range is characterized by enhanced thermal stability compared to polyolefins, greater flexibility than conventional polyamides, and good impact resistance.
 
It also offers good chemical resistance and resistance to thermo-oxidization, and so it is of particular interest for applications requiring flexibility and prolonged use above 150°C. Unlike conventional polymer alloys, its nanostructuring gives it transparency. Arkema says the halogen-free fire-retardant Apolhya grades process more easily than crosslinked polymers. As an additive, Apolhya can be used as a compatibilizer or an adhesion promoter during the recycling of polyolefins and polyamides. It can also boost the thermomechanical properties of polyolefin-based thermoplastic elastomers, or improve the impact properties of polyamide 6 and 6,6 formulations.
 
According to Jousset, some grades already see commercial use and some other applications are also very near commercialization. For instance, an extrusion grade is already used in an automotive underhood application, with the material specified due to its easy processing, high thermo-oxidation resistance, and good oil resistance. In a different application, transparency was the deciding factor as a customer was able to shift from a carbon black-modified competitive material to a natural and transparent version of Ajodhya.
 
Arkema already has capacity for “tens of tons” of the material, though it would not provide detailed annual capacity. [email protected]

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