Project: Crosslinked Polyolefin with increased mechanical, thermal and chemical properties

Goal and Background: The project aims towards creating crosslinkable Polyethylene (PE) and crosslinkable Polypropylene (PP) with unique properties based upon a crosslinking technology that is heat activated and not generates any reaction products and where the active crosslinking is created by ethynyl groups. The change in properties has been proven by two pre-studies, one involving PE and one involving PP. Both projects were made by Nexam Chemical AB and Norner Innovation AS jointly. _x000D__x000D_The crosslinking technology used in this project has originally been developed for high temperature materials by NASA together with several technical universities. These materials are used within areas such as micro electronics, aerospace and transportation. _x000D__x000D_Crosslinking of polymers is a way to change the properties of an existing polymer. In this case the change of properties would enable Polyolefin’s to compete even better with many other materials such as metals and more expensive polymers which often is environmentally less attractive. The use of crosslinked Polyolefin would also create a potential to decrease total cost and make weight savings in many applications. Especially crosslinkable PP would be a technological challenge but also represent a very large opportunity if successful. Of major importance is that existing crosslinking technologies creates degradation of the PP which is not the case with the ethynyl crosslinking technology. _x000D__x000D_The nature of the crosslinking process would allow crosslinkabel Polyolefin’s to be used in mass production methods like injection moulding, extrusion, compression moulding, etc. The crosslinking reaction is done at the end of the production by increasing temperature above the activation temperature of the crosslinker (about 225 °C but depending on crosslinker chemical structure). Only minor modifications of the existing processing equipment should be needed. Involved in the project is two large polymer producers (Repsol and IRPC) and one end user (ABB), all with outstanding knowledge of market, production and use of Polyolefin polymers who will be responsible for evaluation of the developed materials._x000D__x000D_The later part of the project also involves development of additive to increase crosslink density and thereby properties, by adding a “reactive” diluents (booster). Activities to take the results from the project all the way to market introduction is included in the last Work Package. _x000D__x000D_Technical market applications: Increased heat resistance, reduced creep behavior and better barrier properties would enable many new applications within the transportation area (automotive and public transport), packaging (e.g. food containers of several kinds) and medical applications (e.g products possible to sterilize), infrastructure (pipes and wire & cable products) as well as applications within electrical and building industries._x000D__x000D_General Description of the project Consortium: _x000D_The consortia consists of Nexam Chemical AB, Norner Innovation AS, Repsol YPFSA, IRPC Public Company Limited and ABB AB._x000D_Nexam is a new company, founded mid July 2009, based on a spin-off from the specialty chemicals company Perstorp AB in Sweden. The crosslinking technology resided in the former Engineering Materials division of Perstorp (divested prior to Nexam spin-off). Nexam develops, produces and markets crosslinking systems to the polymer industry._x000D_Norner Innovation AS is a new (founded in 2007) independent innovation and technology company, which has approximately 30 years background as a R&D centre for world’s leading chemical companies Statoil and Borealis._x000D_Repsol YPF SA is an integrated multinational company, engaged in crude oil exploration and production, refining and marketing, chemicals and gas. It is the largest private energy company on the Iberian peninsula in terms of assets, and one of the ten major private oil companies in the world. In its chemical activity, Repsol manufactures and markets a wide variety of products, dedicating a high percentage of its production to Polyolefin grades._x000D_IRPC Public Company Limited or “IRPC”, formerly Thai Petrochemical Industry Public Company Limited or “TPI”, was founded in 1978 and transformed to a public company limited in 1994. IRPC started to produce petrochemicals in 1982 and expanded into various petroleum and petrochemical products to become the first fully integrated petrochemical complex in Southeast Asia. IRPC develops, produces and markets polyethylene and polypropylene grades to the plastic conversion industry._x000D_ ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. ABB operates in more than 100 countries and has offices in 87 of those countries employing more than 124000 workers. ABB has 5 divisions: _x000D_Power Products, Power Systems, Low Voltage Products, Process automation and Discrete Automation and Motion._x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D_

Acronym PO-CROSS 2 (Reference Number: 6470)
Duration 01/09/2011 - 30/08/2013
Project Topic The project aim toward increasing properties in Polyethylene and Polypropylene by using a heat activated crosslinking technology. Crosslinking will be done in the existing final processing equipment with only minor requirements on modification.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The results regarding crosslinking of polyethylene are a breakthrough which was unexpected due to the amount of studies performed within the area. This involves both co-polymerization as well as melt modification of the polymer. _x000D_Transfer of the technology to polypropylene revealed some unexpected problems. Continued studies showed even more unexpected results for making crosslinked polypropylene but progress was obtained for the technology. However, basic knowledge for how to proceed is detected within the project.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 6

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 Nexam Chemical AB Coordinator Sweden
5 Norner Innovation AS Partner Norway
5 Repsol YPFSA Partner Spain
5 IRPC Public Company Limited Partner Thailand
5 ABB AB Partner Sweden