Eastman Chemical Co. is putting a chemical-resistant face on its Tritan-brand copolyester for face-shield applications.
Tritan now is being used in face shields made from Ultratuf-brand sheet produced by Spartech Corp. Faceshields using Tritan-made Ultratuf are expected to be commercially available by the end of the year.
In addition to face shields, Tritan can be used in visor and mask applications for the motorcycle, industrial, sports, medical and military markets. Industrial workers doing grinding and welding work or who can be exposed to chemical splashes also can benefit from the use of Tritan, Eastman specialty plastics market development manager Ann McGlone said in a recent phone interview.
Face shields are better than safety glasses when it comes to protecting yourself from chemical exposure, McGlone said. Tritan has excellent chemical resistance, and there's no crazing in the face shields. That's important because you don't want your vision to be impaired in any way.
To date, Tritan's major commercial applications have been in water bottles and baby bottles. The Tritan grades used in those applications have similar chemical resistance, even if it's not as vital in those uses.
For face shields, different grades of Tritan will be available for sheet extrusion and for injection molding. The thickness of the face shield determines which process will be used in its manufacturing. Typically, thicker face shields will be injection molded, McGlone said.
Tritan grades for face-shield applications are expected to have property and processing advantages vs. polycarbonate, which currently is used in some face shields.
Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman is interested in the safety sector because the overall market is growing, McGlone said.
Growth in the safety market might not be huge, but it's steady, she added. And non-food contact grades are a good fit to [Tritan's] broader portfolio.
Clayton, Mo.-based Spartech uses Tritan in Ultratuf sheet that's transparent and is available in gauges up to 75 millimeters.
Face-shield applications are the second sheet-related market that Tritan has entered in 2010. Earlier this year, Eastman struck a deal with Plaskolite Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, to use Tritan in Mustang-brand sheet for illuminated, rigid thermoformed signs. The signs will be made by Plaskolite customer Transworld Signs of Montreal and will be used at Irving Oil retail gas station in the northeast U.S. and on Canada's east coast.