Minerals in compounding show rapid growth in developing countries in packaging & automoti

Minerals used in compounding polymers represent a high value growing market for the mining industry worldwide, with developing countries showing rapid growth in industries like packaging and automotive. The core basic materials like calcium carbonate have been used for decades in PVC formulation, along with titanium dioxide as a whitening agent or pigment. The minerals are sometimes used to cut the cost of the more expensive polymer as filler, but also as an active ingredient like aluminium trihydrate, which is an effective flame retardant. Thus minerals are used as fillers, active additives and pigments in plastics. Adequate dispersion is very important, so additives are used to ensure this, for example by compatibilisation with the polymer matrix and to aid processing. At the top end of the range, exfoliated clay nanocomposites are being used to enhance properties from barrier to flame retardancy in a range of applications – here dispersion is critical to performance and scale-up from laboratory to full size equipment has proven difficult. Alternatives to minerals as fillers are also coming onstream, for example, from waste materials like glass and furnace by-products. Applied Market Information LLC is bringing together end users of plastics, the minerals and compounding industries to debate the use of Minerals in Compounding at Atlanta on December 1-2, 2010.
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