London – Dow Chemical Co. has started commercial-scale production of new EPDM grades based on its ‘advanced molecular catalyst’ technology, according to Dr Olaf Hanschke, a technical leader at Dow Europe.
The technology has been retrofitted to an existing facility in Plaquemine, Louisiana prior to its imminent deployment within a new world-scale EPDM plant at the same site, Hanschke said at the IoM3 Innovations in Design conference, 7-8 Dec in London.
The post-metallocene technology represents a family of catalysts that can be optimised to provide EPDM polymers with enhanced Mooney viscosities and properties tailored to the demands of specific applications, the Swiss-based manager explained.
Among the initial offerings is an EPDM material, Nordel 6555 OE, which is designed particularly for sponge weatherstrip applications.
As ERJ previously reported, Dow claims its advanced molecular catalysts can optimise chain-branching structures on the polymer chain. During polymerisation, they incorporate high molecular weight macro monomers into the growing chain in a relatively easy-to-control process that keeps branching uniform and minimises gel-formation.
As well as the advanced catalysts, the new solution-process EPDM plant at Plaquemine will use low-cost feedstock derived from US shale gas resources, Dow officials have stated.