Testing smart plastics in real time

Nano additives can make plastics scratch and flame proof, or give them antibacterial properties. For this to work, the particle distribution within the plastic compound must be absolutely correct. A new device is now able to test the distribution in real time. onBOX uses a sensor system to test the composition of plastics enriched with nanoparticles. The unit is mounted directly onto the mixing plant, and is able to monitor particle distribution. © Fraunhofer ICT

onBOX uses a sensor system to test the composition of plastics enriched with nanoparticles. The unit is mounted directly onto the mixing plant, and is able to monitor particle distribution. © Fraunhofer ICT

On-the-spot analysis directly at source

onBOX is simply mounted to the exit nozzle of the conveyor, where its sensors analyze and characterize the polymer compound while it is still in the mixing plant. The sensors use a combination of technologies including spectroscopy, ultrasound and microwaves to test the composition of the polymer-nanoparticle compound. They measure its viscosity, pressure and particle distribution, including any possible fluctuations in concentration, while simultaneously measuring the compound’s temperature and its thermal and electrical conductivity. A computer then compares this data to the system’s command variables and processes it inside an artificial neural network.

The computer determines the precise mixing ratios needed to achieve the intended effect as well as the manufacturing process this requires, and feeds this information directly to the machine’s control system. “The result is that the network of nanoparticles develops just as we want it to,” says Mikonsaari, “with optimal distribution of the individual particles.” She adds: “We are able to characterize the state of the polymer melt as it is being discharged through the nozzle.”

Mikonsaari will be presenting onBOX on November 19, 2013 at the NanoOnSpect workshop being held at the ICT in Pfinztal, where it will be attached to a pilot plant able to process 30 kilograms of polymer compound. ICT researchers will also be reporting on the current status of the EU-funded NanoOnSpect project. Those invited to attend include raw material suppliers, plastics manufacturers and companies that process and reuse smart plastics.

NanoOnSpect was launched in 2011 and will run for a total of four years. The consortium draws on the scientific community, associations and industrial partners and was set up with the aim of optimizing manufacturing processes for smart plastics that feature nanoparticle additives.

Project partners are seeking to achieve this in two ways: on the one hand, they are developing technologies that help to improve characterization of the size, structure and distribution of the nanoparticle additives as well as the properties of the polymer compounds. On the other, they are designing a new mixing procedure that combines the advantages of existing processes. “onBOX is a very tangible product of our research from which industry stands to benefit immediately,” says Mikonsaari, pointing out the relevance of the new tool and its scope for practical application. Source: click here

Solvay-New Series of Halogen-Free Flame Retardant Polyamides for Smart Mobile Devices

Solvay Specialty Polymers has expanded its Kalix® high-performance polyamide (HPPA) product line with the introduction of a new series of halogen-free flame retardant (HFFR) materials offered for use in structural parts for smart mobile devices such as tablets, laptops, and other smart mobile electronics. The newly launched Kalix® HPPA 5000 series complements Solvay’s new portfolio of biobased Kalix® HPPAs for mobile devices which was also introduced today at K 2013 (Hall 6 Stand C61), the 19th International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber Worldwide, which runs Oct. 16-23, in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Kalix® 5950 HFFR has received an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 94 flammability rating of V0 for electrical/electronics applications for thicknesses of 0.4 mm and above and 5VA at thicknesses of 1.5 mm and above (both ratings for all colors). The 50% glass fiber-reinforced grade, based on a variant of MXD6 polyamide, provides greater mechanical properties than competing HFFR polyamides and serves as an alternative to metals like aluminum and magnesium… Read more

DNA: a novel, green, natural flame retardant and suppressant for cotton!!

A team of researchers working at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy has found that applying herring sperm DNA to cotton fabric caused it to be resistant to burning or catching on fire. In their paper published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the team describes how they applied the sperm as a coating to a piece of cotton test fabric and tried to set it on fire, to no avail…


For the first time, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from herring sperm has been employed as a novel flame retardant system for enhancing the thermal stability and flame retardant properties of cotton fabrics. Indeed, DNA could be considered an intrinsically intumescent flame retardant as it contains the three main components that are usually present in an intumescent formulation, namely: the phosphate groups, able to produce phosphoric acid, the deoxyribose units acting as a carbon source and blowing agents (upon heating a (poly)saccharide dehydrates forming char and releasing water) and the nitrogen-containing bases (guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine) that may release ammonia. The flammability tests in horizontal configuration have clearly shown that after two applications of a methane flame for 3 s, the DNA-treated cotton fabrics do not burn at all. Furthermore, when exposed to an irradiative heat flux of 35 kW m−2, no ignition has been observed. Finally, an LOI value of 28% has been achieved for the treated fabrics as opposed to 18% of the untreated fabric.




Novel routes in flame retardancy of bisphenol A polycarbonate/impact modifier/aryl phosphate blends

A work Performed  by BAM:

The massive use of electronic engineering products accompanied by high demands on fire safety has led to increasing interest in environmentally friendly flame retardancy of bisphenol A polycarbonate (PC) based materials.

In this work, novel routes for enhancing the flame retardancy of PC/Impact Modifier/Aryl phosphate were studied with respect to pyrolysis (TG, TG-FTIR, ATR-FTIR, NMR), flammability (LOI and UL 94) and fire behavior (cone calorimeter at different irradiations).

To improve charring of PC/ABSPTFE+Aryl phosphate, the exchange of bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate) (BDP) with novel aryl phosphates was proposed.

Two novel flame retardants were synthesized: 3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexylbisphenol-bis(diphenyl phosphate) (TMC-BDP) and bisphenol A-bis(diethylphosphate) (BEP). TMC-BDP was more stable than BDP, thus gave a potential to increase the chemical reactions between the components of the PC/ABSPTFE+Aryl phosphate, whereas more reactive BEP was expected to increase the cross linking activity with the polymer matrix. Nevertheless, the corresponding blends did not enhance the flame retardancy compared to PC/ABSPTFE+BDP. BEP in PC/ABSPTFE preferred to cross-link with itself instead of with PC, thus it showed poor fire protection performance. TMC-BDP gave as good results as BDP in PC/ABSPTFE material. The results delivered evidence that BDP possesses a high degree of optimization in PC/ABSPTFE system…Read more: click here (pdf format)

Source: BAM

First commercial-scale plant for production of Nofia™

Uhde Inventa-Fischer to build world’s first commercial-scale plant for the production of flame-retardant Nofia for FRX Polymers Europe, NV.June 12, 2013 –

The plant engineering and construction company, Uhde Inventa-Fischer, has won a turnkey contract to build the world’s first commercial-scale plant for production of Nofia, an inherently flame retarding polymer (polyphosphonate – PPhos) used as a blend component to impart flame retardancy to other host plastics, for the Belgian subsidiary of US-based FRX Polymers, Inc.. The plant will be located in Antwerp, Belgium, and will use FRX Polymers, Inc. proprietary, patented polycondensation process. This flame-retardant polymer, which will be marketed under the trademark Nofia, is ecofriendly, halogen-free, transparent and inherently flame-resistant, making it highly suited for use in the building, transportation as well as in the electronic and electrical industries. Source : http://www.uhde-inventa-fischer.com

Further Information:

Frank Stolzenburg
Tel.: +49 30 43567-5
Fax: +49 30 43567-899
E-Mail: frank.stolzenburg@thyssenkrupp.com

Polyolefin Efficiently Replaces PVC in Flame Retardant Wire and Cable Thanks to New POLYBOND® Polymer Modifiers

Addivant™ USA, LLC announces the introduction of new POLYBOND® polymer modifiers that allow halogen-free polyolefin compounds to efficiently replace PVC in flame retardant wire and cable solutions.
The replacement of PVC in wire and cable insulation and jacketing is driven by regulatory changes and consumers’ increased desire for sustainable solutions. This has developed an increased demand for halogen free polyolefin compounds for use in a growing number of wire and cable markets, such as transportation, electrical & electronic, building & construction and appliance applications. Currently, polyolefins are the most widely used polymers in the world, primarily due to their ease of processing, balance of mechanical properties versus cost and, with respect to the wire & cable market, good electrical properties. However, a major drawback with the use of polyolefins is that they are not inherently flame retardant like PVC. Traditional formulations to make polyolefins flame retardant used halogenated flame retardants, which produce heavy smoke and give off toxic, corrosive gasses during combustion.

To meet this demand, Addivant has introduced an innovative new portfolio of Linear Low Density Polyethylene based POLYBOND® polymer modifiers. When used in conjunction with halogen-free flame retardants such as Aluminum Tri Hydroxide (ATH) or Magnesium Hydroxide (Mg(OH)2), these new POLYBOND® polymer modifiers increase the flame retardant characteristics of polyolefins while providing the physical properties required in end use applications. POLYBOND® 3149 is a general purpose LLDPE, while POLYBOND® 3249 and POLYBOND® 3349 are technologically suited to applications requiring higher elongation values with reduced gel formation during mixing.

The new LLDPE based POLYBOND® polymer modifiers complement existing Addivant POLYBOND® polypropylene and high density polyethylene polymer modifiers, as well as the wide-ranging Addivant™ portfolio of wire and cable products, which include antioxidants, UV stabilizers, metal deactivators and customized, non-dusting blends of various additives. Global expert level technical support and R&D facilities allow Addivant™ to work with their wire and cable customers to customize solutions that best meet their specific market needs.

Contacts: Addivant, Jeff DeWerth,  Jeffery.DeWerth@addivant.com, +1 440.352.1719

Source: http://www.turnitaround.co.za/

PolyOne Introduces New Non-Halogen Flame-Retardant TPEs for Appliance Wire Applications

PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers unveiled OnFlex™ AW, a new line of non-halogen flame-retardant TPEs for the appliance industry. These new wire and cable insulation and jacketing specialty materials help support appliance manufacturers’ sustainability goals by combining outstanding physical performance with an eco-conscious solution that enables reduced material usage and lighter weight.

“Our new OnFlex formulation helps our customers advance sustainability with a non-halogen material that meetsstrict regulatory requirements and helps to optimize product design and manufacturability,” said Charles Page, director of global marketing, PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers.

OnFlex™ AW helps simplify multi-wire assembly and construction and reduces jacket / insulation diameter significantly compared to traditional materials. This reduction enables manufacturers to produce wires and cables that require less space, use less material and can be up to 65 percent lighter – saving energy in shipment. Size reduction also expedites processing, enabling faster, easier extrusion. OnFlex AW features enhanced mechanical properties and improved dielectric strength, with a bend radius of 6 to 8x. It is rated for up to 1 million flex cycles and the new material can also withstand temperature extremes ranging from -50°C to 105°C.

This new TPE formulation also complies with the requirements of the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals(REACH) directives.OnFlex AW can be used in 300V and 600V appliance hook-up wire constructions that meet stringent UL 758 requirements for tensile strength and elongation.

Source: www.noodls.com

Microencapsulated Ammonium Polyphosphate with Glycidyl methacrylate Shell: Application to Flame Retardant Epoxy resin

This article was published in Ind. Eng. Chem. Res.-March 28, 2013:


A new microcapsule containing Ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and Glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) as core and shell material was synthesized by in situ polymerization technology. The structure and performance of microencapsulated ammonium polyphosphate (MCAPP) were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Water contact angle (WCA). The flame retardation of MCAPP and APP flame retarded Epoxy resin (EP) composites were studied by Limiting oxygen index (LOI), UL-94 test and Cone calorimeter. The results indicated that the microencapsulation of APP with the GMA leaded to an improvement of the hydrophobicity. Results also revealed that the flame retardancy of EP/MCAPP composite was better than that of the EP/APP composite at the same additive loading. Moreover, the EP/MCAPP demonstrated better thermal stability, due to the stable char forming by APP and GMA shell and the better dispersion of MCAPP in EP matrix.

Workshop on ‘Nanoparticles for flame retardancy: challenges and risks’

The Workshop on ‘Nanoparticles for flame retardancy: challenges and risks’ will be organized on May 16, 2013, within the COST Action MP1105 “Sustainable flame retardancy for textiles and related materials based on nanoparticles substituting conventional chemicals” (FLARETEX, http://www.flaretex.eu )

The Workshop is an essential part of the “5th International Seminar on Modern Polymeric Materials for Environmental Applications – MPM2013” (http://www.mpm2013.pl/) organized at the Department of Chemistry and Technology of Polymers, Cracow University of Technology, Poland.

The aim of the Workshop is to discuss how nanoparticles can improve the fire retarding performance of polymeric materials. It is already known that nanomaterials could be used in relatively low quantities and, additionally, they could be coupled with low amounts of traditional flame retardants to exploit significant synergistic effects. By optimizing nanoparticles for flame retardancy, the problems of toxicity, safety and environmental impact can be tackled in novel and innovative ways. This Workshop shall contribute to these issues.

workshop program: click here

Effect of a novel flame retardant containing silicon and nitrogen on the thermal stability and flame retardancy of polycarbonate

This article was published in Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, February 2013:


A novel flame retardant (PSiN), containing silicon and nitrogen, was synthesized using N-(β-aminoethyl)-γ-aminopropylmethyldimethoxysilane and diphenylsilanediol through solution polycondensation and it was added to polycarbonate (PC). The structure and thermal properties of PSiN were characterized by fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TG) tests. The effect of PSiN on the flame retardancy and thermal behaviors of PC was investigated by limited oxygen index (LOI), vertical burning test (UL-94), and TG tests. The results showed that the flame retardancy and the thermal stability of PC are improved with the addition of PSiN. When 1 mass% PSiN and 0.5 mass% diphenylsulfone sulfonate (KSS) are incorporated, the LOI value of PC is found to be 46, and class V-0 of UL-94 test is passed. The char structure observed by scanning electron microscopy indicated that the surface of the char for PC/KSS/PSiN system holds a firmer and denser char structure when compared with neat PC and PC/KSS system.

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