Four years after their market introduction, the company's Graphistrength brand of carbon nanotube fillers now has Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for sale in the U.S. The supplier can look forward to a boost in worldwide sales of its Graphistrength masterbatches, which are already available in Europe and Asia.
A recent poll at our website (results here) revealed that processors expect nanotechnology to be among the technological developments which will most impact the plastics processing industry, ahead of machinery developments and even legal issues. But in fact, nanotechnology remains a legal gray zone for many applications, which is why industry is working overtime to study these tiny particles' affects. Plastic and additives suppliers are working to address these concerns, as reported here.
Those concerns are why the EPA's authorization is so important for Arkema's plans in the U.S. The approval gives the green light to Arkema Inc., Arkema's U.S. subsidiary, to supply customers in the U.S. currently conducting research and application tests involving CNTs with their commercial development on a larger scale.
Since it first began producing CNTs in 2006, Arkema has sought to develop, under the trademark Graphistrength, a whole range of masterbatches designed to optimize the performance of CNTs in polymer matrices (thermoplastic, elastomer and thermoset). According to the supplier, Graphistrength products are blend into compounds, with good of CNTs in many polymer matrices, and offer end parts electrical and mechanical properties above those available with more established additives.
In September 2009, Arkema announced it would build a 400-ton/year CNT pilot production plant in France. The plant is due to come on stream early 2011. Arkema includes three business units, one each devoted to vinyl (PVC), industrial chemicals, and performance products; its 2009 sales totaled €4.4 billion.