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

Axiall resumes operations at damaged Lake Charles PVC feedstock plant

April 15, 2014 4:41 pm ET

Axiall Corp. has resumed operations at its PVC feedstock plant that was damaged by a fire in December.
More

Image

Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

April 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe's largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.    More

Image

Power failure shuts down two PE resin units in Texas

April 15, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Two polyethylene resin units operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Baytown, Texas, were closed from April 8-11 because of a power failure.    More

Shell Chemical to host public meetings to discuss plans in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh...    More

Image

Despite struggles, Europe still key market in global resin picture

April 15, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Challenges and opportunities facing international plastics and chemicals markets were tackled by a trio of top executives at the IHS World Petrochemic...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events