Phthalate-free and lead-free plasticizers that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40%, and are available at a cost comparable to traditional plasticizers, when looking at end use,are being developed. They offer reduced carbon footprint, safe end-of-life disposa and benefits in terms of processing, electrical and temperature performance.
Dow has unveiled Ecolibrium™ Bio-Based Plasticizers. The new plasticizers were developed to meet growing demand for more sustainable options in wiring applications such as personal electronics and appliance wiring, residential and commercial building wiring, communications and data cabling and automotive wiring. These bio-based plasticizers have been rigorously tested to perform under exacting requirements and meet regulatory requirements for flame resistance, reduced carbon footprint, safe end-of-life disposal. They offer specific benefits in terms of processing, electrical and temperature performance, and end-use for low and high temperature wiring applications in several key wire and cable market segments:
• Personal Electronics and Appliances – Wires jacketed with material that includes DOW Ecolibrium™ can achieve an outstanding balance of flame retardance, flexibility and heat performance. In wiring for personal electronics, it can deliver on global OEM requirements for heat deformation resistance, flexibility and electrical performance.
• Building & Construction -Being phthalate-and lead-free, they offer safe building wire options for end-users. By virtue of being bio-based, their production can also provide opportunities for cable-makers and building industry end-users to achieve carbon credits and, in the USA, certification by the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating Systems. The new products are also effective in data communications delivery applications.
• Automotive - Wires used for the transmission of power and data inside passenger and commercial vehicles that are jacketed with material that includes these bio-based plasticizers can provide an environmentally-friendly solution that exhibits requirements for heat resistance and ease of installation.
Teknor Apex Company has developed flexible vinyl compounds with plasticizers based on renewable resources for applications as diverse as automotive window encapsulation, medical tubing and footwear. New BioVinyl™ flexible vinyl compounds have already found commercial uses. These compounds incorporate phthalate-free Dow Ecolibrium™ Bio-Based Plasticizers. Life cycle analysis tests conducted by Dow and reviewed by a third party indicate that every ton of vinyl compound made flexible with Ecolibrium™ the industry reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 0.7 ton, or 41%.
Applications for which Teknor Apex is prepared to supply commercial quantities of BioVinyl compounds include:
• Automotive window seals, interior and exterior trim, and instrument panel skins.
• Medical tubing, masks, and collection bags.
• Consumer products such as footwear and toys.
BioVinyl grades have been tested for a number of standard flexible vinyl applications, such as building and construction seals and gaskets and irrigation tubing. Development work continues on compounds for other applications, such as blood bags and wire and cable jacketing. Teknor Apex has compiled comparative data indicating that the global warming potential of BioVinyl compounds, in terms of CO2 emission equivalents, is half that of polyolefin resins and is even lower than that of PLA bioplastic. The cumulative energy demand of BioVinyl compounds, including feedstock and processing, is the lowest in comparison with a wide range of plastics. Since Ecolibrium™ Bio-Based Plasticizers are derived from naturally occurring vegetable substances that are not used for food, these compounds are unaffected by supply/demand forces impacting other bio-derived plastics feedstocks such as corn starch. The most pronounced property change in comparison with conventional phthalate-plasticized compounds is an improvement in heat stability, enabling extrusion processors to carry out longer product runs without prohibitive levels of polymer degradation. Compounds developed for weatherstripping and gasketing showed significantly less color change than standard vinyl after accelerated weathering. Dow bio-based plasticizer exhibit greater plasticizing efficiency than most common phthalates, apparent during preparation of developmental BioVinyl grades- The Company was able to use less plasticizer to obtain the same level of flexibility as in corresponding phthalate-based compounds.
Georgia Gulf Corporation and Galata Chemicals are in a collaborative effort to develop a line of flexible bio-based PVC compounds containing Drapex® Alpha, a primary plasticizer produced from renewable feedstocks by Galata. Georgia Gulf used decades of experience producing engineered vinyls to develop a line of bio-based compounds that are free of phthalates and heavy metals. Ideal for wire and cable, medical uses and a range of general-purpose customer needs in the area of environmental-oriented applications these bio-based vinyl compounds can be custom blended to meet customer’s unique property requirements to enable products to meet the sustainability needs of their customer base.
Polyones’ Geon™ non-phthalate vinyl compounds are custom formulated to meet specific requirements. They offer alternative solutions for markets and applications that are affected by changing public perceptions and/or state and national legislation. These compounds offer a wide range of flexibility and excellent performance characteristics but are made with non-phthalate plasticizers and other raw materials. Geon non-phthalate compounds can be injection-molded or extruded, and can be custom formulated to meet specific customer requirements. Key characteristics include:
• Broad hardness range (55A through 95A)
• Transparent or opaque colors
• High gloss, low gloss or matte surface
• Excellent chemical resistance
• Meet codes & regulatory requirements (FDA, USP Class VI, and sterilizable grades available)
• Excellent physical property matrix
These flexible compounds can be customized to suit a wide variety of applications such as coatings and adhesives, hose and tubing, wire and cable, gaskets and weather stripping, furniture, wall protection systems, food packaging, medical products.