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Specialty Additives and Compounds Advancing Engineering Plastics for Electronics Solutions

SpecialChem / Feb 22, 2010

The Electrical/Electronics (E/E) end-use market is the world's 3rd largest plastics sector behind packaging and building/construction. Apart from mechanical properties, the electrical behavior of plastics is a vital factor when using these materials for E/E applications. The E/E market requires new product materials/parts to be evaluated against UL (Underwriters Laboratories) requirements. If not inherently flame resistant, plastic materials for E/E applications must be offered in FR (Flame Retardant) formulations. In the European Union RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives require flame resistance to be realized without the use of halogenated components. LTI is also an important UL requirement. Limiting temperature index (LTI), specifies the maximum continuous use/operating temperature for a material. Nanoclay is proving effective as a flame retardant synergist for E/E applications. As operating temperatures increase more robust flame retardants are needed to withstand the higher temperatures. Higher thermal stability, blister resistance, and melt flow are also required. Nanoclay additive improves UL ratings, reducing the rate of heat release and promoting the formation of stable char. Stainless steel fibers are effective functional fillers for electrically conductive plastics. The metal fibers are very thin metal filaments, with diameters of 1 to 80 micron. These compounds both deflect and conduct electromagnetic waves, providing more effective shielding. Very low amounts are needed to meet the requirements for Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) and Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).

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