The markets for polyolefins have been very volatile in the past year with the impact of the global economic crisis and Noru Tsalic at AMI has reviewed the situation. The REACH regulations are still being worked out in practice and experts like Steptoe and Johnson are assisting chemical companies in the transition. The 3rd AMI international conference Polyolefin Additives 2010 brings together compounders, researchers, additive suppliers and end users to debate the latest industry trends.
Polyolefin compounders are developing new products to meet the increasing performance demands for end applications. This means innovations in additives and recipes. In the past, companies tried to improve the lifetime of materials. Now, particularly with carrier bags, the aim is to produce something that will disappear in the environment. Dr Marek Koutny has examined the bidoegradability of polyolefins containing prooxidant additives. There are innovations to improve long-term performance, with new NOR-HALS technology from Clariant Produkte (Deutschland) for applications such as agricultural film. Process stabilisation is considered critical to durability. Chemtura has a new generation of phosphite antioxidants, and Norner Innovation has looked at the synergy between phenolic antioxidants and phosphites. Sumitomo Chemical has developed a hybrid antioxidant with phenolic and phosphonic moieties in one molecule. Zinc sulphide prolongs the life of washing machine hoses and hot water pipes but usually causes a lightening of colour – Sachtleben has produced a synthetic version of the chemical with no light scattering effect as a co-stabiliser. Blends can improve polyolefin properties: Nova Chemicals has tested polyethylene/polystyrene interpolymers and Loughborough University has worked on blends for pressure pipes. variety of minerals are used in compounding from companies such as Imerys/World Minerals. Grace has a silica-based antiblocking agent. Beta nucleant masterbatches from Mayzo are being tested for improving dutility, toughness and to reduce weight in some products like geogrids. here are enhancements to polypropylene compounds for applications such as automotive, from key players including SABIC and Polykemi. There is a new reinforcement for this market from Milliken, and additive blends for biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) from Albemarle. Baker Hughes Polymers has produced polypropylene derivatives using metallocene technology and these can be used in a variety of applications. Ciba (now part of BASF) has a portfolio of additives and pigments for the polyolefin market.