Axiall developing alternatives for phthalates and heavy metals in PVC compounds

Published: April 18, 2013 11:27 am ET
Updated: April 18, 2013 11:29 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Materials, Materials Suppliers, Compounding
Companies & Associations Georgia Gulf Corp.

NEW ORLEANS — Axiall Corp. has developed PVC compounds that swap phthalates and heavy metals for organic alternatives, and give builders controversy-free PVC products that could help them meet environmental and health and safety requirements.

The flexible and rigid PVC compounds were created through collaborations between Atlanta-based Axiall and several partners.

The compounds are designed to be cost neutral and perform equally or better than their traditional counterparts, said Bridget Confait Smith, development chemist at Axiall, in a presentation at the Global Plastics Environmental Conference.

Two years ago, Axiall (then Georgia Gulf Corp.) researchers began work on the firm's overarching sustainability program. At the same time, customers started requesting flexible PVC that didn't contain phthalates — the controversial plasticizers are petroleum-based and non-renewable, and are slowly becoming regulated or banned due to health concerns, Confait Smith said.

The materials major also sought alternatives to the heavy metal stabilizers used in rigid PVC, especially zinc. The element, along with being a questionable metal, can also cause "zinc burning" problems in PVC, she said.

In addition to swapping out controversial components, Axiall set out to make PVC that would meet government regulations.

The solution: flexible PVC that uses plasticizers made from renewable feedstock like plant life, bio-matter and natural oils. And rigid PVC that uses a proprietary organic stabilizer made from proteins.

All of the products in Axiall's bio-based PVC line contain more than 25 percent renewable content, qualifying them for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred Program, Confait Smith said, adding that flexible PVC products contain 39.5 percent to 53 percent renewable content, depending on loading.

The PVC also meets Volatile Organic Compound regulations — vital for builders trying to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design credits, including the strict VOC limits set by the GreenGuard Children & Schools certification program.

GreenGuard tests for indoor air quality. Axiall met the program's requirements at the most stringent level, she said.

Compared to traditional PVC, the new compounds have the same physical properties, but do show improved stability in regards to color hold. The flexible PVC also has a lower brittle point temperature — a significant upgrade "with no additional costs to customers," Confait Smith noted, — and heat temperature is lower for the rigid PVC.

In preliminary "cradle to gate" life cycle analysis, the products show an improved environmental impact with less carbon dioxide emissions, she said.

The bio-based PVC line is commercially available, including a line of PVC for medical operations.

Axiall is currently working on flexible PVC that could be used for wire and cable operations. The material has passed standard volatility tests at 136° C, a requirement for those applications.

GPEC 2013 was held March 20-22 in New Orleans.


Comments

Axiall developing alternatives for phthalates and heavy metals in PVC compounds

Published: April 18, 2013 11:27 am ET
Updated: April 18, 2013 11:29 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Akro-Plastic buying German subsidiary from Metabolix

October 24, 2014 3:32 pm ET

Akro-Plastic GmbH, a Niederzissen, Germany-based plastic compounder, has purchased the assets of Metabolix Inc.'s subsidiary in Germany.    More

Image

German export sales strong, push for energy savings continues

October 24, 2014 12:34 pm ET

Germany is the engine that drives the European economy — and when it comes to the plastics industry, German machinery is a potent force, an...    More

Image

BASF pre-tax earnings rise, but will miss financial targets for 2015

October 24, 2014 10:16 am ET

BASF SE has raised its expectations for pre-tax earnings in 2014 but warned that it would not hit its financial targets for next year.    More

Image

Sabic, Shell cancel expansion for SADAF joint venture in Saudi Arabia

October 24, 2014 9:19 am ET

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell have cancelled plans to expand an existing petrochemical joint venture in Saudi Arabia following...    More

Image

Sadara CEO says Middle East now has 20 percent of global ethylene capacity

October 24, 2014 9:33 am ET

Sadara CEO Ziad Al-Labban claims that the Middle East's ethylene capacity is now 20 percent of global production.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events