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Fire impacts supply of specialty polyamides; biopolymers to the rescue

Article-Fire impacts supply of specialty polyamides; biopolymers to the rescue

A fire broke out at Evonik Industries' Marl Chemicals Park in Germany on March 31 that is disrupting supply of a key raw material used in the production of polyamide 12 (PA12). The fire caused two fatalities

Cyclododecatriene (CDT) is a starting material used to manufacture laurolactam which, in turn, is used as a monomer for the production of PA12. The incident therefore affects the Vestamid product family of Evonik (Darmstadt, Germany). Plastic parts made of PA12 are key components in automobile production, in the photovoltaic industry, and in offshore pipelines. Other major fields of application include the sporting-goods and household-goods industries. Evonik is one of the leading producers of PA12.

As yet, Evonik does not have any indication as to the full extent of the damage. While it does expect substantial constraints with respect to our ability to provide supplies of CDT-based products, it are nonetheless confident that it will be able to provide alternative solutions in the form of substitutes such as Vestamid Terra. According to Evonik, it is possible to modify these bio-based polymers as required for many of the relevant applications to achieve much the same material attributes as PA12. Evonik is already making every effort to ensure the facility is repaired and running and that it will be able to re-establish full supply capability as soon as possible.

Evonik adds that there is no restrictions on the supply of non-laurolactam-based high-performance polymers: Trogamid (PA 6-3-T molding compounds), Vestamid HTplus (polyphthalamide), Vestodur (polybutylene terephthalate), Vestoran (modified polyphenylene ether) and Vestakeep PEEK (polyetheretherketone).-[email protected]

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