The polymer market is changing worldwide, with the booming of shale gas in North America and cheaper supplies of ethylene the global supply chain is in the process of major change.
World leaders in Polyolefin Additives will be meeting at the AMI event in Cologne, 23-25 October, to debate current technology trends and business prospects for the next decade.
Noru Tsalic, consultant at Applied Market Information, has been studying the impact on the polyolefin industry and will be speaking about his findings at the compounding conference, Polyolefin Additives 2012, which takes place from 23rd-25th October 2012 at the Maritim Hotel, Cologne, Germany.
With world market uncertainty a differentiated product can give a business the edge over the competition and provide improved performance for the clients - a win-win situation. Polyolefin Additives 2012 brings together the brightest and best of the additive suppliers with compounding industry leaders in polyethylene and polypropylene to highlight the latest technology and research. Borealis has studied PP modification using minerals and selective nucleation, Dr. Abdulhadi Alshehri of SABIC has results from experiments on fracture behaviour of PP-clay nanocomposites, while the technology group at Reliance Industries has developed a new high melt strength PP.
Each material recipe combines a variety of specialty chemicals such as stabilisers, flame retardants, colorants, fillers, antifogging agents, processing aids, compatibilisers and antimicrobials. Carbon black filler is used to add conductive properties to HDPE and there are a variety of grades to choose from: Timcal has looked at the optimal selection. Chemtura has looked at aspects of sustainability in flame retardants and Kabelwerk Eupen has conducted research into new fillers for flame retardancy. In all formulations there is potential for interaction and unintended consequences. For example, Dr Rudolf Pfaendner (DKI) has looked at how flame retardants influence the photo-oxidative stability of polymers.
Stabilisation is vital to polyolefin performance and Songwon from Korea has additives for processing PP, Cytec has developed long-term stabilisers for the construction market and BASF Schweiz has looked at compounding PP fibres for special markets. From the USA Albemarle Corporation has produced an antioxidant stabiliser.
It is important for materials in contact with potable water and food to be safe in use, and migration of additives needs to be minimal in these applications. Tosaf Compounds has studied migrating and non-migrating additives for films. The appearance of packaging is important in selling to consumers: Milliken has specialty clarifiers and antifogging properties are imparted by additives from Croda formulated for food contact use. Several food ingredients are used as additives and the University of Alicante has studied the use of carvacrol and thymol as antimicrobials. In compounding there is the possibility of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and Norner in Norway has been examining this problem.
When materials are processed they are subject to heat and shear, so processing aids are used like Fischer Tropsch based polymer additives from Sasol of South Africa, silicone masterbatches from Multibase and stabilisers from Clariant International.