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July 6, 2006
2 Min Read
Dow Chemical (Midland, MI) unveiled what it described as a breakthrough in olefin elastomers at NPE in the form of Infuse olefin block coploymers (OBCs). The unique amorphous-semicrystalline block architecture of Infuse reportedly delivers enhanced performance and processing properties beyond current olefin elastomers, including a superior balance of flexibility and high temperature performance (typically a 40°C higher melting point than random ethylene copolymers), faster set-up in processing (equating to reduced cycle times), and improved abrasion resistance. Other pluses are excellent elastic recovery (close to SEBS), and compression set properties at both room and elevated temperatures. Compression set is similar to mid-range TPUs and TPVs, while elasticity is competitive to styrene block copolymers.
Infuse OBCs were developed using Insite Technology and will reportedly enable a wide range of new application opportunities for processors of flexible products, including molded goods, extruded profiles, hoses and tubes, elastic fibers and films, and foams. The family will compete with SBCs, EVA, flexible PVC, and TPVs.
Detailed plans concerning manufacturing facilities will be announced later in the year. Currently, Infuse is produced at a market development plant in Freeport, TX. This is the first elastomer product of many that will be based on this [chain-shuttling] technology," says Kurt Swogger, global VP for R&D, Performance Plastics and Chemicals, at Dow.
In additional Dow news, the company inked a joint research agreement with Mitsui Chemicals (Tokyo) to further the develop catalyst systems for the production of OBCs. The two suppliers hope to create materials with outstanding features such as flexibility and rubber elasticity.
OBC is a new structured polymer, having superior flexibility and rubber elasticity over a wide range of temperatures, from -60°C to more than 100°C. Target applications are expected to include automotive, construction, and home appliances.
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