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Advanced and Conventional Processing Aids

SpecialChem / Michel Biron – Feb 7, 2012

Energy savings, carbon footprint, quality, waste reduction and cost savings are essential requirements concerning the plastics industry. Energy savings decrease pollution and fuel consumption, thus saving money and taking care of the environment. Specially moulding and extrusion need a high energy for heating, mechanical work, plasticization, pressure increase, and cooling. Energy consumption depends on rheology, temperatures, pressures, outputs of injected or extruded polymers, and wastes.

Wastes are the result of moulding and extrusion defects such as melt fracture, 'sharkskin', ‘flashes’, die build up, machine cleanings. Lowering of raw material viscosities reduces energy consumption due to a lower processing work, and reductions of pressure and/or temperature. One way toward these goals is the use of innovative or conventional Processing Aids improving the flow behavior, the energy efficiency, the end product quality, the productivity, and all parameters contributing to cost savings. align="justify">Innovative PPAs are new and developing ways using FluoroPolymer, Siloxane or silicone masterbatches or powders, low viscosity polymers such as CBT or LCP and others, Hyperbranched processing aids (HBPAs), POSS, polymeric esters. Mineral processing aids facilitate slippage against solid surfaces and provide an internal lubrication, improved mould flows, reduced mixing times, enhanced extrusion rates and surface finish, lower wear of processing equipment such as extruder screws and dies. Conventional PPAs have been used for a very long time, including among others Polyolefin waxes, Modified polyethylenes, Polypropylenes, Metallocene polyolefins, Liquid polymers. Targeted goals depend on the used processing methods, for example easier flows, higher outputs, energy savings, melt fracture removal, shark skin reduction or suppression, surface defect elimination, better mould filling, reduction or elimination of gels and optical defects, lower die build up, lower processing pressure, lower processing temperature, delaying of machine cleanings and reduction of changeover times. In addition, Polymer and Mineral Processing Aids are not easily removable and, very often have interesting collateral effects among ease of release, lower friction coefficients, plasticizing effects, impact enhancement.

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