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Polymer Additives

Progress in PVC Heat Stabilizer System Solutions

SpecialChem / Feb 8, 2010

To perform satisfactorily, both rigid and flexible PVC call for an efficient additive package that includes heat stabilizers. Heat stabilizers, which are essential components of a PVC formulation protect the polymer during elevated processing temperatures, as well as prevent longer-term heat degradation in the ultimate end-use. Lead (Pb) stabilizers have traditionally been used to stabilize most rigid PVC produced globally except for North American production where tin (Sn) is predominantly used. However, a trend to move toward stabilizers based on calcium (Ca) and zinc (Zn) as well as organic compounds has been emerging. In comparison to lead based stabilizers, calcium based stabilizer systems are cost-performance comparable and have advantages in handling and product properties such as outdoor weathering but are more product specific, often calling for custom formulation. Vinyl 2010 is a 10-year voluntary initiative of the European PVC industry for sustainable development. As part of this commitment European stabilizer producers set out to phase out cadmium stabilizer use. Lead stabilizers have been phased out in North America and many countries have replaced primarily organotin stabilizers. As a result replacement of lead based stabilizers around the world is occurring at different rates, depending on the application. In Europe, the ELV (End-of –Life) Vehicle directive made it difficult to dispose of lead-containing materials and thus the automotive industry has moved more rapidly towards calcium-based stabilizers. Tin-based heat stabilizers are used in North America where it is expected to remain the principle heat stabilizer of choice, with mixed metal and organic stabilizer systems finding certain niche applications. Cadmium/zinc stabilizers have been mostly replaced worldwide by calcium/zinc systems. Tin stabilizers have sufficient efficiency to be widely used in many applications. New organic stabilizers are being developed as promising stabilizer solutions.

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