By: Patrick Raleigh ERJ On-line news editor
Horgen, Switzerland-Dow Chemical Co. has launched a new range of plastomers and elastomers based on solution polymerised propylene-ethylene copolymers. The Versify-branded materials are produced using a new catalyst technology in combination with Dow's metallocene-based Insite system.
Dow said it plans to convert existing facilities to produce Versify products on a commercial scale in the second half of 2004. The group added that it currently has development projects underway with several customers trialling the material.
Dow's rival ExxonMobil Chemical Co. is soon to start production of its new line of propylene-ethylene elastomers at a 100-kilotonne-per-annum plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The products, called Vistamaxx, are made via metallocene catalysis and a new solution polymerisation technology, and are claimed to offer properties beyond those obtainable with metallocene plastomers.
However, Versify products have a unique molecular architecture that differentiates them from Ziegler-Natta- and metallocene-catalyst-based propylene copolymers, according to Kurt Swogger, vice president research & development, Plastics, in a 12 Feb Dow statement.
â€œThe new narrow molecular weight distribution and broad crystallinity distribution result in improved temperature performance against comparable metallocene products, Swogger explained. â€œThe broad crystallinity distribution results in broad melting behaviour; a high melting shoulder is maintained even as the overall crystallinity of the polymer decreases,â€ he added.
Versify polymers offer performance combinations for producers of films, fibres, and moulded parts and in thermoplastic elastomer compounds, claimed a Dow announcement. The materials feature improved optical, sealing, elasticity and softness properties, as well as good processability and compatibility with other polymers, it added.
â€œWe've combined the company's strength in catalyst and process technology, material and polymer science, as well as fabrication and market expertise, in order to help our customers go beyond what has been possible in the past,â€ said Romeo Kreinberg, Dow's senior vice president, plastics.