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

China's Shide Group, BASF unveil 'revolutionary' all-plastic window profile

April 23, 2014 9:10 pm ET

SHANGHAI — The PVC window profile market in Asia is expected to increase four-fold by 2025, and Chinese building products maker Dalian Shide...    More

Worker dies in fall at Formosa Texas plant

April 23, 2014 4:04 pm ET

A subcontractor died April 22 after falling 25 feet during routine cleaning operations at a Formosa Plastics Corp. USA facility in Point Comfort,...    More

Image

Milliken expanding SC plant for additional PP clarifying agent capacity

April 23, 2014 3:42 pm ET

American chemical company Milliken & Co. has announced plans for a major expansion in capacity for its Millad NX8000 clarifying agent for...    More

Clariant says Asia holds the key to growth

April 23, 2014 3:52 pm ET

Clariant AG is based in Switzerland, but its eyes are firmly focused further east.    More

Image

Unilever puts Dove brand on a MuCell diet

April 23, 2014 1:57 pm ET

New technology employed by Unilever NV in the manufacture of bottles for its Dove Body Wash range of products could end up saving the brand owner up t...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

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

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

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