Orion Engineered Carbons LLC touts specialty black pigments for water-saving drip irrigation systems. Water conservation has been a hot topic this summer in much of the United States because of widespread drought.
“Pigment blacks are small, high-surface area particles that improve the long-term performance of drip irrigation systems,” says Bhuvanesh Yerigeri, technical market manager for specialty blacks at Kingwood, Texas-based Orion.
Key properties of the particles include ultraviolet radiation resistance that protects pipe and hose from exposure to the sun prior to installation and also subsequent degradation. High-purity pigments that disperse well also reduce the chances of microscopic defects that can cause plastic to crack or degrade prematurely.
Drip irrigation is used in U.S. greenhouses, golf courses and for a variety of crops, including rice, tomatoes and grapes. India is a global leader in micro-irrigation and produces 7 to 10 times as much black masterbatch resin for this market than does the U.S. industry, estimates James T. Daly, business manager for Spartech's Color and Specialty compounds business segment based in St. Louis, Mo, a major supplier of black masterbatch used in linear low density tubes and inflatable irrigation tape.