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Materials Biodegradable

Materials Biodegradable High Barrier for Packaging Soarus LLC from Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA recently introduced ‘Nichigo G-Polymer ®’ , a unique multi-functional barrier and water solution polymer developed by its parent company, Nippon Gohsei of Japan. Unique properties of Nichigo G-Polymer include: 1. Biodegradability 2. Water solubility at room temperature 3. Non-foaming when dissolved in water 4. Outstanding gas barrier (200-fold better oxygen barrier dry versus EVOH) 5. High clarity 6. Extrudability with wide melt temperature processing window 7. In water solution: A. Chemical reactivity - receptive to crosslinking agents B. Protective colloid for acrylic emulsions C. Dispersing agent for inorganic materials 8. Polymer design flexibility to meet specific application needs Nichigo G-Polymer is a totally new high amorphous content vinyl alcohol resin where crystallinity can be tailored down to the point of total amorphous character. Nichigo G-Polymer combines two typically traded-off functions; although it may be an amorphous resin, it also has crystalline-like functions. Such combination functions are evidenced by the excellent gas barrier properties and good chemical resistance of Nichigo G-Polymer similar to PVOH (polyvinyl alcohol) and EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer) resins, along with surprisingly excellent water solubility and far lower crystallinity. Nichigo G-Polymer also has superior extrusion properties, orientability, shrinkability and transparency. It can be used in all extrusion processes. The resin is particularly suited for processes such as melt-spinning, oriented film, transparent containers, injection molding and more. Nichigo-G is biodegradable (as to Japanese Compostability test JS K690, similar to EN 14851. Certification tests according to ASTM 6400 are in progress). Thus the resin lends itself to a variety of applications such as new packaging materials that are environmentally friendly. Not only does it have excellent oxygen barrier but the highest level of hydrogen barrier. It therefore has potential use in household power fuel cell systems and fuel-cell powered cars, hydrogen gas stations, and the like. Nichigo G-Polymer, when used in combination with other resins in applications such as bicomponent fibers, nonwoven fabrics, filters, polymer alloys, and multi-layer films, makes possible the development of high-strength, flexible, antistatic, and hydrophilic functional products. Another unique characteristic of Nichigo G- Polymer is water solubility. It dissolves very rapidly in water, even cold water. It has superior solubility characteristics, which include low foaming and good viscosity stability at low temperatures. Furthermore, its impact on the environment is minimal, being that it is biodegradable, it does not require antifoaming agent, and it results in increased operating and energy efficiency. This excellent water solubility property of the material paves the way for its use in applications such as water soluble films, fibers, and coatings. Because Nichigo G-Polymer is a reactive vinyl alcohol polymer, chemical reactions such as acetalization, urethane formation, and others take place with ease, making possible functional products with extremely uniform quality and structure. 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Materials High High Transparency High Solubility High Reactivity Amorphous content Article contributed by James D. Swager, Soarus LLC, MSI Technology Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA Conventional vinyl alcohol resin Nichigo G-Polymer Low Hydrogen bonding strength Strong High Gas Barrier High Bonding Strength High Dispersability Another valuable application is its use as a functional polymer protective colloid agent in emulsion polymerization of various acrylic emulsions. With Nichigo G-Polymer it is possible to manufacture emulsions with good stability and stable viscosity at low temperatures. This allows the creation of surfactant-free acrylic emulsions and emulsion powders, which until now have been difficult to achieve. The functionality of the polymer makes possible the crosslinking of films produced from such emulsions, as well as improves the adhesion properties to various polar substrates such as cellulose. Such acrylic emulsions and emulsion powders are already being manufactured and sold by Nippon Gohsei. Finally, Nichigo G-Polymer has the exceptional ability to improve the dispersion and stability of inorganic compounds in water systems. Therefore it has applicability as a sintered binder and coating agent for silica, aluminazol, and other inorganic compounds used in the manufacture of electronic parts and inkjet papers. With all of these multi-functional, high performance characteristics, the new resin opens the door to a wide range of application development. The initial grades in the G-Polymer product line have been established. Nippon Gohsei has set up a semi commercial facility at its Kumamoto plant (Uto City, Kumamoto JAPAN) for annual production of 300 tons in 2009. There are also commercial production facilities for 2000 tons per year, to be ready in 2009 at its Kumamoto and Mizushima (Kurashiki city, Okayama JAPAN) plants. Nippon Gohsei is also considering expanded production capability including USA production sites. OTR (cm³ 3µm/m² day atm) 100 10 1 0.1 EVOH (44mol%) EVOH (29mol%) PVOH Nichigo G-Polymer Temperature : 20°C 0.01 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 G/Polymer EVOH 29mol% EVOH 44mol% Nylon 66 Nylon 11

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