Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Co. has improved the performance of its Fusabond coupling agents in compounds for wire and cable and plastic lumber markets.
New low-gel grades of Fusabond can increase filler levels in halogen-free, flame-retardant and low-smoke compounds for wire- and cable-jacketing or insulation.
``With older flame retardants, you can get by with a 20 percent filler level,'' DuPont industrial polymers director Penny Perry said in a recent telephone interview. ``Now [with the new Fusabond grades] you can do up to 70 percent.''
The materials also can meet new requirements that bring more scrutiny to basic flame retardants, because of toxic smoke generated by halogenated materials, according to Perry.
To ensure quality levels in wire and cable Fusabond grades, DuPont also has installed new equipment to measure gel levels and check for black specks at its plants in Sarnia, Ontario, and Shenzhen, China.
In plastic lumber, a new Fusabond product can improve strength and reduce water absorption in wood-polyethylene composites. The grade uses new technology that fuses an ethylene copolymer with anhydride functionality.
For composites that are 55 percent wood, Fusabond tripled water absorption and doubled stiffness, according to DuPont industrial polymers marketing manager Megan O'Brien.
``Decking is a really big application where [Fusabond] can have an impact,'' O'Brien said in a recent phone interview. ``Decorative trim and architectural trim also are good markets for us.''
All of the new Fusabond grades have been commercialized since mid-2004. The wire and cable products are made in Sarnia and Shenzhen, while the plastic lumber offerings are made at plants in Shenzhen; Sabine, Texas; and Antwerp, Belgium.