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Consumer Electronics

Consumer Electronics Bio-Based PPA for Smart Mobile Devices Solvay Specialty Polymers LLC (Alpharetta, Georgia, USA) recently announced the launch of a new portfolio of bio-based high-performance polyamides (HPPA) offered for use in smart mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart mobile electronics. The introduction includes the Kalix ® HPPA 3000 series, the first bio-based amorphous polyphthalamides (PPAs), and the Kalix 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced semi-crystalline polyamide (PA 610) grades that provide outstanding impact performance. The Kalix 3000 series breaks new ground as the industry’s first bio-based amorphous PPA which delivers exceptional processability. The two new grades - Kalix 3850 and Kalix 3950 – provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing due to fewer secondary operations such as deflashing. The two compounded grades consist of 16% renewable content (according to ASTM D6866). One of the key raw materials for the Kalix 3000 series is a renewably sourced material supplied by sister company Solvay Novecare, a specialty supplier of surfactants, polymers, amines, solvents, guar, and phosphorus derivatives. Under the development work, Solvay utilized the specialized resources of its R&D teams in India, Belgium, China, and the U.S. while also taking advantage of new Solvay raw materials captively available since the Rhodia acquisition in 2012. Meanwhile, the new Kalix 2000 series of semi-crystalline materials, based on PA 610, consists of Kalix 2855 and Kalix 2955. They provide strong mechanical properties, high impact, exceptional surface finish, and low moisture absorption. These two compounded grades consist of 27% renewable content (ASTM D6866). Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series compounds offer manufacturers more sustainable options while providing the exceptional physical attributes and processing capabilities that are required in demanding structural applications such as injection molded chassis, housings, and covers, according to Sebastien Petillon, global market manager for mobile electronics for Solvay Specialty Polymers. Both the 2000 and 3000 series contain monomers that come from the sebacic acid chain which is derived castor oil. Overall, in addition to their renewable content, the new grades (between 50-55% glass fiber loading) provide greater strength and stiffness than most competing glass-reinforced materials including high-performance polyamides and lower-performing engineering plastics such as polycarbonate. The introduction of the new series represents a major expansion of Solvay’s longtime offering of Ixef ® polyarylamide (PARA) and Kalix HPPA grades which have served the mobile electronics market the past 15 years. The new bio-based grades are expected to penetrate a greater share of smart mobile device applications due to their easier processability compared to Ixef PARA, according to Petillon. The non biobased products Ixef and the Kalix 9000 series will continue to be offered. Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series offer an excellent surface finish. They can be matched to a wide range of colors including the bright and light colors of the smart device industry and can be painted using existing coatings commonly used for portable electronic devices. The new materials are available globally and Solvay intends to primarily manufacture in the region of sale, according to Petillon. The company expects most production to be conducted at its Changshu, China, facility since Asia is the primary manufacturing center for smart mobile devices. Both Kalix 2955 and 3950 have been qualified and specified by OEMs for use in smart mobile devices. Solvay is already developing next-generation biobased products with enhanced flow, better mechanical performance, and higher renewable content for constantly redesigned and innovative smart mobile devices. 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/13] Vol. 8

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