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Issue 01/2017

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
  • Materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Packaging
  • Plastics
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  • Foam
  • Renewable
  • Sustainable

Foam New compostable

Foam New compostable particle foam BASF presents ecovio ® EA with high bio-based content for packaging solutions During K-fair 2016, BASF launched its new innovative expandable ecovio ® EA particle foam. This product is predominantly biobased (>70 %) and, like all of the grades under the ecovio brand, it supports the biological cycle through its certified compostability. ecovio EA is a patented product made out of BASF’s biodegradable polyester ecoflex ® type and Polylactic acid (PLA). It is the first expandable, closed cell particle foam developed as a drop-in solution for Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) and Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) customers. By utilizing an innovative continuous process, the ecovio polymer is charged with the blowing agent pentane to produce expandable beads. These expandable ecovio EA beads are shipped globally using a standard EPS octabin packaging. Under ambient storage conditions, these beads have a shelf-life of more than 6 months without any quality impairment. BASF Convertors OEM‘s End of life steam steam Expandable beads Foam beads Shape molded parts Compostable Drop-in processing solution for EPS customers The major advantage of this product is that the convertors can use their existing machineries to process ecovio EA. ecovio EA enables trouble-free pre-expansion of the beads on conventional EPS pre-expanders. The foam density can be adjusted by simply tuning the steaming time and temperature. The minimum density of 23 g/l can be achieved in a one-step and above 16 g/l in a two-step expansion. It also expands at least three times faster than EPS, which leads to significantly lower steam consumption and faster production cycle times. The subsequent shape moulding can also be done using EPS or EPP machines. The innovative blend recipe with modified ecoflex acts as an in-situ hot melt adhesive which facilitates superior bead fusion of shape moulded parts and leads to good surface quality. In some cases, the mould needs to be adapted/modified to process ecovio EA foam beads due to different shrinkage than EPS and EPP. The major requirement of the mould is to provide a sufficient number of filling injectors as to achieve good filling and evenly distributed steam holes add to a perfect part appearance and performance. By doing so, high quality ecovio foam products can be produced continuously on standard commercial machines. 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/17] Vol. 12

Foam By: Bangaru Sampath Global Technical Marketing Manager BASF SE Ludwigshafen, Germany Biobased content between 60% and 80% The major benefits for the convertors/moulders include • Utilization of their existing machineries (no major investment needed) • Low transportation cost due to shipment and storage of high density beads (density 700 g/l) • Foaming to all desired density ranges whenever required • Full flexibility in terms of density and complex dimension of shape moulded parts • Less energy consumption during foam processing Performance and applications ecovio EA foam offers better thermal and chemical resistance in comparison to EPS and its outstanding mechanical properties boast very good energy absorption and resilience even when subjected to multiple, heavy impacts. These excellent properties make it particularly suitable for transport packaging for heavy, high-value or delicate goods (e.g. washing machines, television screens) where a high level of impact resistance and robustness is vital. The foam application can also be extended for its use in the food packaging sector due to its good thermal insulation performance. For example, to maintain the cooling chain at all times for temperature-sensitive goods such as packaged vegetables, fruit, meat, frozen goods or even drugs. This effectively prevents the goods from being spoiled. Soon, a new ecovio EA food contact grade will be launched and this will extend the range of applications to all of the areas in which foam is in direct contact with processed food. End of life ecovio EA is highly durable under normal environmental conditions but degrades very quickly within five weeks under industrial composting conditions. Prior to composting, the foam material may also be recycled to alternate plastic products (e.g. with injection moulding technology) in customised recycling processes. The high biobased content and the certified compostability make ecovio EA particularly attractive wherever a fossil packaging solution no longer meets customers’ requirements for a biobased and biodegradable packaging solution. Due to its high biobased content the CO 2 footprint is much lower as compared to completely fossil based foam products. Physical properties of ecovio EA for packaging Properties Test standard Unit Test result Test result Density DIN EN ISO 845 kg/m 3 25 30 Thermal conductivity Compressive stress at 10°C at 35°C at 60°C at 10 % strain at 25 % strain at 50 % strain DIN EN 12667 ISO 844 mW/(m·K) kPa 32 - 33 36 - 37 40 - 41 95 127 180 32 - 33 36 - 37 41 - 42 Specific cushioning factor, C* ISO 4651 2.7 2.7 Bending strength DIN EN 12089 kPa 210 - 230 250 - 270 Tensile strength DIN EN ISO 1798 kPa 224 258 Elongation at break DIN EN ISO 1798 % 10 8.5 Short term resistance to heat deformation °C 100 100 124 161 227 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/17] Vol. 12 37

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