NEC Corp. plans to begin using a new blend of polycarbonate resin and a flame-retardant silicone compound in making some high-end electronic products.
By the end of June, Tokyo-based NEC will use the plastic in performance-driven housings for thin-film transmitter, liquid-crystal-display monitors and battery cases for personal computers. Later, applications may include personal computer housings and office equipment.
Initially, the material will carry a ``10 percent to 20 percent [cost] premium over regular flame-retardant PC with bromine,'' but that difference will decrease as production volumes increase, NEC spokesman Aston Bridgman said in a telephone interview from Tokyo. He said the material loses 15 percent of its strength in an initial recycling but maintains its characteristics through subsequent closed-loop recyclings.
In a briefing, principal researcher Masatoshi Iji said the special silicone compound, characterized as ``a world first,'' offers more safety for electronic products than current combinations of PC, ABS or polystyrene and environment-endangering flame-retardant bromine or phosphorus compounds.
Unlike usual silicone compounds, this patented material's structure disperses finely in resin, removes the resin surface at ignition and forms a barrier during any combustion of the resin.
Iji spoke to the international media briefing April 22 in Tokyo; the product was introduced to the Japanese market March 20.
Iji and others at NEC's resources and environment protection research laboratories in Kawasaki, Japan, developed the material in conjunction with Sumitomo Chemical Co.
Sumitomo will manufacture silicone PC for NEC at an Ehime, Japan, factory.
Beginning Nov. 1, the Tokyo-based joint venture Sumitomo Dow Ltd. will take the lead in marketing silicone PC worldwide to other companies, including electronics manufacturers. The venture, which links the resources of Sumitomo and Dow Chemical Co., will distribute output from the same Ehime line.