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10/11/2005 | 2 MINUTE READ

Non-hygroscopic,colorable NexPrene® 9000 materials combine processing advantages with elastomeric performance

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Solvay Engineered Polymers has introduced a new series of fully vulcanized thermoplastic materials.

Solvay Engineered Polymers has introduced a new series of fully vulcanized thermoplastic materials. The series will be identified by the NexPrene® 9000 brand name. There are currently nine materials in the series, ranging in hardness from 40 Shore A to 50 Shore D. This new series of thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) materials complements the NexPrene 1000 family of general-purpose elastomers that has gained acceptance for applications in the automotive, medical, construction, and plumbing industries throughout the world. The new NexPrene 9000 series employs a proprietary cure technology for dynamically cross-linking the elastomer-phase component that is dispersed in a continuous thermoplastic polyolefin matrix. The use of this technology results in materials that offer processing and performance advantages to designers and producers of products that require soft-touch surfaces in bright colors. No drying required before processing Because there are no moisture absorbing constituents used in producing these materials, products in the NexPrene 9000 series are non-hygroscopic - they do not absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Therefore, they do not need to be dried prior to processing either by injection molding or extrusion. Processors who are not equipped for the extensive drying that is normal with traditional thermoplastic rubber compounds will find that NexPrene 9000 materials will run readily on conventional equipment. Easy to color Each of the members of the NexPrene 9000 series exhibits a very clean, consistent, natural color - with a yellowness index of less than 16. Bright whites can be obtained using concentrations of titanium dioxide as low as 0.5%, and a wide range of colors can be achieved with low pigment loadings. In addition, some pastel shades can be produced in NexPrene 9000 materials that might not be possible with conventional TPVs - or even with some competitive grades that are marketed specifically for applications in color. Elastomeric Performance The processing benefits of the NexPrene 9000 series have been achieved with no compromise of elastomeric performance. The materials in the new series are comparable to conventional TPVs in measures of strength and elasticity. On two critical counts, though, they outperform other thermoplastic rubber products that are specially designed to accommodate colors and eliminate pre-drying. NexPrene 9000 grades show significantly greater resistance to oil swell than competitive colorable materials. These new materials also exhibit better resistance to compression set than other specialty products. This gives designers the option to introduce color into applications that have not traditionally been candidates for aesthetic treatment. Intended applications The combination of colorability and performance makes materials in the new NexPrene 9000 series suitable for applications such as construction weatherseals or consumer products, where bright or subtle colors are desired. These new materials also exhibit very low levels of “fogging” caused by out-gassing, which makes them ideal for color matched parts in automotive interiors. Solvay Engineered Polymers intends to continue developing new additions to the NexPrene 9000 series. Already in limited commercial production is one grade that is bondable to polyurethane, which is being used to provide a soft-touch surface in a sporting-goods application. Grades bondable to other polymer substrates are being tested at various customers. Every addition to the series, however, will exhibit the hallmarks of the NexPrene 9000 technology: non-hygroscopic and easily colorable.