Chevron Chemical Co. last week introduced a family of ionomers it claims are the only such materials commercially available that are based entirely on ethylene acrylate copolymers. Chevron now will compete in ionomer markets against DuPont Co. and Exxon Chemical Co. Those companies make and market ionomers based on acid copolymer feedstocks.
While competing against the giants, Chevron - at least for now - is seeking to market niche products, rather than wide-ranging lines that attempt to fill every need.
Lou Compton, a market development engineer for Chevron, introduced the ionomers, under the Imac tradename, at the Technical Association for the Pulp and Paper Industry conference in Chicago. Compton delivered a paper on the new products Aug. 31.
Gulf Oil Co. developed the chemistry and technology used to make the ionomers in the 1960s but its efforts in these areas have been dormant since then, Gray Golze, a specialty polymers specialist with Chevron, said in an Aug. 30 telephone interview. Chevron acquired Gulf in the mid-1980s.
Chevron received a patent for its manufacturing process in June 1993.
Golze said Chevron developed the products in response to a request from a customer for a special packaging application that required especially strong hot tack strength. Golze also claims Chevron's ionomers have superior clarity compared with other ionomers on the market.
Golze said Chevron has Food and Drug Administration approval for its ionomers, based on approvals Gulf applied for and received in the 1960s. Those approvals give the ionomers an immediate market presence, he said.
Golze said the ionomers are being aimed at specialty blown film applications, in both monolayer and multilayer constructions.
Chevron now is producing the ionomers in commercial quantities in four standard grades, and has other grades available for samples, Golze said. The ionomers are compatible with standard additives used for other ionomer resins, he said.