Halloysite Clay successfully used as a drop-in additive for reinforcement in polymer composites

03-Mar-10
Applied Minerals Inc. has completed trials incorporating its Halloysite Clay as a drop-in additive for reinforcement in polymer composites. As a result of these trials, the Company has filed a Provisional Patent Application with the USPTO for a novel method of producing a halloysite-polymer composition that (i) eliminates two costly steps typically used in the compounding process and (ii) produces improved properties to other polymer composites reinforced with (a) Halloysite Nanotubes utilizing other composition methods, (b) chemically treated MMT Organo/Nanoclay and (c) certain traditional fillers. Applied Minerals intends to market its line of Halloysite products under the Company's Dragonite ™ brand name. The Dragonite ™ line will consist of different grades of Halloysite Clay products tailored to enhance the property performance of each target application, in a cost competitive manner. The first offering is Dragonite-XR™, a drop-in additive specifically engineered for polymer reinforcement. Composites formed with Dragonite-XR™ exhibit not only high stiffness but also high tensile and flex strength, all with a low density and retained toughness. The Company is currently exploring joint development opportunities with compounders interested in producing a line of polymer composites incorporating Dragonite-XR™. Advantages of Dragonite XR™ in Composites -- Lower density than conventional fillers results in reduced weight of finished products. -- Naturally exfoliated morphology provides ease of dispersion at loadings up to 40% without a need for organo-treatment. This results in lower raw material, mixing, and quality control costs compared to organo clays. -- Increases both the stiffness (modulus) and strength of composite with minimal changes in impact strength, weld line strength, and viscosity. -- Improves fatigue resistance and drop impact resistance compared to chopped glass fibers. -- Acts as a nucleating agent with 8degC increase in crystallization temperature, even at 1-3 wt% level, resulting in faster cooling and cycle time. -- Improves thermal stability: 20degC increase in the decomposition temperature in TGA. -- Increases time to ignite, reduces peak heat release rate, and improves char density when added at 5-10 wt% with other conventional flame retardants. -- Lower shrinkage than organo clay and lower warpage than chopped glass fiber and mica. -- Increases stiffness and toughness of thermoset compounds. -- Tubular morphology enables the entrapment of active agents followed by their controlled release at predetermined rates. -- Halloysite is an inorganic material that is non-toxic and biodegradable. -- Lower cost than organo clay.
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