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Metallocene Improved Impact Modifier Developments

Donald Rosato – Aug 10, 2018

Metallocene Technology based Impact ModificationA wide number of plastics are improving their impact resistance as a result of metallocene technology developed additives.

The current polymer focus includes polyolefins and polyamides. The technical basis for these innovations is metallocene catalysis. Historically, the route to improving impact resistance in polypropylene and other polyolefins such as polyethylene is to alloy compound EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber into the given polymer.

Currently, metallocene catalysis technology has led to entirely new classes of impact modifiers. This new technology has been developed by raw material suppliers such as:

 − Borealis
 − ExxonMobil
 − LyondellBasell, and
 − Others

These impact modifiers are in the form of PolyOlefin Plastomer (POP) and PolyOlefin Elastomer (POE) copolymers that are ethylene and propylene monomer based.

Let’s take a closer look at recent metallocene technology based plastomer and elastomer impact modifier advances.

Metallocene Plastomer and Elastomer Advancements

Borealis has a market leading group of polyolefin-based plastomer and elastomer product lines. Recent activity has centered on elastomer product expansions that build upon their strong plastomer base. These products are basically high value-added polyethylene compounds that find use in a variety of:

 − Wire and cable
 − Automotive
 − Packaging, and
 − Houseware end-uses
Borealis Queo™ Plastomer and Elastomer End-Uses
Borealis Queo™ Plastomer and Elastomer End-Uses

These materials have rubber-like physical properties combined with the ease of thermoplastic processing. The best application for these plastomers is where increased flexibility harnessed to impact strength at low temperature is required.

Stated simply, these Queo™ compounds and blends are positioned performance wise between traditional polyethylene type polyolefins and EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubbers. In a broader sense, Queo™ plastomers are targeting end use applications where a combination of modest flexibility in tandem with increased mechanical and thermal properties is needed. In terms of existing plastomers in the marketplace, Queo™ compounds are superior in terms of:

 − -55 °C glass transition temperature
 − 55–75°C low melting points
 − Less than 20 Mpa (Megapascals) higher flexibility
 − Low crystallinity, and
 − Enhanced impact resistance at lower temperatures

Borealis Queo™ Plastomer Impact Grades and Relative Optical Haze Level
Borealis Queo™ Plastomer Impact Grades and Relative Optical Haze Level

Queo™ plastomers are excellent when blended with semi-crystalline polypropylene to improve impact strength. Their metallocene technology focused elastomers built upon ethylene alfa olefin rubbers make them excellent for impact modification improvement in polypropylene compatibilized Thermoplastic PolyOlefin (TPO) systems creating high amorphous/low crystalline plastics. Furthermore, Queo™ blending in products results in improved:

 − Lightweighting
 − Mechanical toughness
 − Ease of high filler loading
 − Low extractables migration, and
 − General dispersion

 » Continue reading to explore more metallocene technology developed additives for low viscosity, high flow, enhanced optical impact modifications, etc.

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