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Coupling agent enables PVC replacement by polyolefins in W&C

A new series of coupling agents reportedly allow halogen-free polyolefin compounds to efficiently replace PVC in flame retardant wire and cable solutions. Polybond modifiers are supplied by Addivant USA (Middlebury, CT), the former antioxidant and UV stabilizer solutions business of Chemtura.

The replacement of PVC in wire and cable insulation and jacketing is driven by regulatory changes and consumers' increased desire for sustainable solutions. This has developed an increased demand for halogen-free polyolefin compounds for use in a growing number of wire and cable markets, such as transportation, electrical & electronic, building & construction and appliance applications.

Currently, polyolefins are the most widely used polymers in the world, primarily due to their ease of processing, balance of mechanical properties versus cost and, with respect to the wire & cable market, good electrical properties. However, a major drawback with the use of polyolefins is that they are not inherently flame retardant like PVC. Traditional formulations to make polyolefins flame retardant used halogenated flame retardants, which produce heavy smoke and give off toxic, corrosive gasses during combustion.

To meet this demand, Addivant has introduced an innovative new portfolio of linear low-density polyethylene-based Polybond polymer modifiers that function as coupling agents. They are employed to enable dispersion of halogen-free flame retardants such as aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) or magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2), throughout the polyolefin polymer matrix while retaining the physical properties required in end-use applications. Polybond 3149 is a general-purpose LLDPE, while Polybond 3249 and Polybond 3349 are technologically suited to applications requiring higher elongation values with reduced gel formation during mixing.

The new LLDPE-based Polybond products complement existing Addivant Polybond polypropylene and high-density polyethylene polymer modifiers, as well as the wide-ranging Addivant portfolio of wire and cable products, which include antioxidants, UV stabilizers, metal deactivators and customized, non-dusting blends of various additives.

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