NEXAM CHEMICAL – IMPROVED NASA TECHNOLOGY FOR BETTER PLASTICS (Part 1)

Posted: 3 August, 2015 in Nexam, Published Investment Calls
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This Nexam article primarily aims to highlight the improvement of material properties gained by applying Nexam cross-linking technology:

“Nexam develops crosslinkers that fit optimally into different kinds of polymers including polyimides, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonates and PEEK. The technology, which is based on previous developments carried out by NASA, has now been further developed and new patents have been applied for. The new crosslinkers result in improved processing properties such as controlled melt behaviour and they can be tailored to work with almost any polymer.

NEXAM PLASTICS, STRONGER AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURE, EVEN WHEN DILUTED WITH FILLER

“Formerly, fillers were used predominantly to cheapen end products, in which case they are called extenders. Among the 21 most important fillers, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) holds the largest market volume and is mainly used in the plastics sector.[2] While the plastic industry mostly consumes ground calcium carbonate the paper industry primarily uses precipitated calcium carbonate that is derived from natural minerals.” Source link, Wikipedia

Effect of temperature and filler. A few CESI conclusions:

Nexam demonstrates an example that a plastic´s tensile strenght is lowered ( – 33 %, at 210 °C ) when dilued with 60 % (mass weight) of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). However, for the same plastic crosslinked with 2.5 % of Nexam cross-linker, the plastic´s original tensile strength is retained even if “diluted” with ~60 % (mass weight) of CaCO3 (!)

Furthermore, in the same example at 210 °C, the cross-linked plastic (containing 2.5 % of Nexam cross-linker) is stronger compared to the original plastic (not containing Nexam cross linker), even if diluted with 10 % CaCO3 (+>40 MPa tensile strenght versus +>30 MPa tensile strenght in the highlighted example).

Source link (t =19:20, in Swedish): ref: https://redeye.solidtango.com/video/nexam-smabolagsdagen-2015

NEXAM CROSS LINKED PE PIPES vs PE100 PIPES

– IMPRESSIVE SLOW CRACK GROWTH DATA

PE100 is an ISO designation for a grade of pressure rated PE material. The designation means simply that the material is polyethylene, PE, and that the material qualifies for a 10 MPa (100 bar, 1450 psi) MRS rating at 20°C Source link, wlplastics.com 

For PE pressure piping materials, slow crack growth (SCG), is the long term failure mode. SCG is not brittleness. Stress such as internal pressure causes cracks to develop and grow through the pipe wall from stress concentrations Source link, wlplastics.com 

Japan Polychem Corporation (wholly owned by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation) claims that:

“Polyethylene, especially PE100 Resin has been steadily increasing its use in pressure pipes for water and gas based on its superior property balance. Of all the properties required for PE100, when we consider the defects on the pipe surface and the stress concentrations on the fitting of complicated shape, the most important for the lifetime of pipe should be the resistance to Slow Crack Growth (SCG). Recent requirements for cost reduction by no-dig or no-sand installation have been enhancing the need for the improvement of SCG resistance”

And:

“Polyethylene(PE) has already established its position as a major material for many pipe applications,
such as gas and water distributions (pressure pipes), sewerage, drainage and conduit, based on it’s
excellent characteristics such as light weight/ flexibility for easy handling and chemical stability for
corrosion resistance. The strength of PE pipe line system to the earthquake according to its ability to
follow the ground movement and excellent fusion-welding strength is now well acknowledged. In
Japan, there have been several strong earthquakes with the magnitude of more than 6 such as the
Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake (Magnitude 7.3, 1995) and the Niigata-ken Chuetsu earthquake
(Magnitude of 6.8, 2004). Although there were a lot of damages observed to iron, steel and PVC
pipes in those earthquakes, there was no report of the damage to the PE gas and water pipe line
system. Therefore, the usage of PE pipes to the lifelines like water and gas is increasing year after
year also in Japan.”

PE for pipes, especially PE100 resin, has been steadily increasing its use all over the world and is
expected to grow further. Together with the spreading of PE100 resin, the requirements for cost
competitive installation methods like no-dig or no-sand methods are also increasing. In these
installation methods, however, we can not avoid the surface defect by scratching and the
concentrated local stress by stone or something like that in the backfill material. These defect and
stress concentration can give the pipe more stress than anticipated and may cause the failure of the
pipe, if the material’s resistance to stress crack or slow crack growth (SCG) is not strong enough.”

Source link: http://www.pochem.co.jp/jpe/reference/pdf/20061113-1.pdf

In the most recent Nexam presentation, the CEO Anders Spetz presented that SCG for PE100 pipes containing Nexamite equals a 307 % improvement compared to PE100 pipes containing no Nexam cross linker (reference). 

Source link (t =19:40, in Swedish): ref: https://redeye.solidtango.com/video/nexam-smabolagsdagen-2015

NEXAM vs PE100 PIPES

– IMPRESSIVE HYDROSTATIC LEAK TEST DATA

Hydrostatic testing is universally known and accepted as the primary means of demonstrating the fitness for service of a pressurized component (Source link, Plastic Pipe Institute)

  • An indoor video example of a hydrotest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG-FQvjn9C0

  • An outdoor video example of a hydrotest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG-FQvjn9C0

Hydrostatic leak tests typically use cooler liquids so the liquid filled test section will tend to equalize to a lower temperature near test liquid temperature. Source link, Plastic pipe 

In the most recent Nexam presentation, the CEO Anders Spetz also presented results from a hydrotest. PE100 pipes containing Nexamite equals a 320 % improvement compared to PE100 pipes containing no Nexam cross linker (reference).

Sourcelink, Nexam at småbolagsdagen 2015 (In Swedish, t = 19:40)

PE pipe status note, Nexam 2014 Annual report: Other promising partnerships Other promising partnerships include PE applications (polyethylene), in which full-scale testing will be conducted by pipe manufacturers during the first six months of 2015. The aim is to develop a manufacturing process using crosslinkers from Nexam Chemical that results in plastic pipes with greater stability. This would enable the manufacture of pipes in larger diameters, while maintaining production speed

NEXAM POLYIMIDES

Du Pont:

“There is a need for a new method for making polyimide nanowebs with suitable mechanical properties from high concentration solutions; polyimide nanowebs comprising nanofibers of a cross-linked polyimide; separator comprising polyimide nanowebs; and multilayer articles and electrochemical cells comprising separator.”

In  this patent, Du Pont demonstrates that mechanical and electrical properties were improved using the Nexam products EPA (ethynyl phthalic anhydride) and PEPA (4-phenylethynylphthalic anhydride)! Additionally, Du Pont specifically states that PETA was obtained from Nexam (WO 2013/181333 A1; E. I. DU PONT)

Addition Curable Polyimides – Summary from the Nexam – Evonik Webinar

Processability

•Increased coating build and / or line speed
•Removal of solvents
•Controlled thermal activation

Properties

•Retention of properties at high temperatures
•Solvent resistance
•Low void content

Source link: Nexam Evonik Webinar.

IMPORTANT NOTE : Webinar available only until September 24, 2015 (!)

A new Nexam resin: NEXIMID® MHT-R in short Source link

Nexam Chemical introduces a new ”easy to process” resin that is primarily intended for use within the aerospace industry. Other areas, such as machine, general industry and transport sectors will also benefit from this high property material. The new resin, NEXIMID® MHT-R, is intended for small to medium sized production volumes of high-temperature composites by Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM). Temperature properties such as Tg is superior to most other materials and polyimides on the market.

  • Binders for fixation of fibre preforms:
    Reactive binders for fixation of a fiber pre-form are available. The binders are NEXIMID® A57 and A58.  A57 is a mono functional binder that reacts with the resin and A58 is a bi functional binder. Each binder melts at a specific temperature and upon cooling glues the pre-form together. During processing the binders react with the resin upon curing. The reaction is an addition reaction and no volatiles are formed during the process.

NEXAM POLYAMIDES

From Nexam patent US8492507 B2 Source link 

“Polyamides are recognised as exhibiting good abrasion resistance, low friction coefficient, good resistance to heat and good impact resistance. Polyamides are in dry conditions good electrical insulators. Polyamides are typically hygroscopic and absorb water. This absorption will change some properties, such as insulation, tensile strength and stiffness. The impact resistance is increased by a higher content of water.

There are, despite the fact that polyamides have excellent physical and chemical properties and for a long time have been widely used for resins, films, fibres, moulded articles and so on, demands for improved and/or modified properties, such as increased operational temperatures and retained properties during and after exposure to for instance harsh temperature, atmosphere, mechanical and radiation conditions.

It has now quite unexpectedly been found that an acetylenic polyamide can be obtained by incorporation of one or more carbon-carbon triple bonds into a polyamide, for instance as endcapping group(s), as pendant group(s) along the molecular backbone and/or as group being part of the molecular backbone. The acetylenic polyamide of the present invention meets said demands for improved and/or modified properties exhibiting an excellent combination of toughness, resistance and thermooxidative stability” […]

The purpose of the present invention is to modify the mechanical properties of polyamides and compositions comprising polyamides. Among these modifications of properties can be mentioned: higher softening temperature, higher E-modulus and improved ability to counteract creep strain.

Note: E-modulus = Elastic modulus =  A number that measures an object or substance’s resistance to being deformed elastically (i.e., non-permanently) Source Link, Wikipedia

RECYCLED PET – POTENTIAL NEXAM CHEMICAL IMPACT IN SECOND GENERATION PROCESSED RECYCLED PET:

PET bottles exposed to UV light negatively impact next generation bottles – Plastic Engineering

http://www.plasticsengineering.org/News/article.aspx?ItemNumber=22506

Described above is a “storage issue” of PET bottles produced from recycle material. In fact, Nexam might potentially already have principal solutions at hand to this issue, both in respect to chain extenders (= PBO = “repair agents”), UV protection during second generation production of recycled PET (see bold font below) and the original and new Nexam cross linking approaches (see bold font below). One example:

  • Nexam patent US20140018460 – COMPOSITIONS FOR IMPROVING POLYESTERSPublication Date:16.01.2014

SUMMARY

“Accordingly, the present invention preferably seeks to mitigate, alleviate, eliminate or circumvent one or more of the above-identified deficiencies in the art and disadvantages singly or in any combination and solves at least the above mentioned problems by providing a method for altering the melt characteristics, such as the melt strength, of a polyester.” […]

“According to an embodiment, also blowing agent, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, alcohols, ketons, methyl formate, hydrofluorocarbon a hydrocarbon, e.g. n-hexane, iso- or n-pentane, cyclopentane and n-heptane, or a gas mixture thereof, an expanding agent, a foaming agent, nucleating agent, such as talc, kaolin, silica gel, and TiO2, a flame retardant, such as a halogenated, charforming (like phosphorus-containing) or water-releasing compound, a plasticizer, a lubricant, such as an ester of a fatty acid, an impact modifier, insulation modifier, a pigment, a filler, an antioxidant, a UV-stabilizer and/or a color improver is melt mixed with the polyester” […]

“The cross-linker and chain extender comprising at least two groups being able to react with a carboxy group and a phenolic hydroxyl group will act as chain extender, e.g. by connecting terminal carboxy groups of two separate polyester molecules, as well as cross-linker, e.g. by connecting non-terminal pending carboxy groups of two separate polyester molecules. The molar ratio of polyester and tetracarboxylic dianhydride, will affect the number of non-terminal pending carboxy groups being present and hence also the degree of cross-linking. Further, the cross-linker and chain extender will act as water/acid scavenger, as any water in the material will result in hydrolyzed polyester generating an acid and an alcohol, these acids can be tide back to the polymers by the cross-linker and chain extender if such is present in the material.”

In fact, the above described cross linking approach is not based on the earlier reviewed and described 2+2+2 cyclotrimerization (the Berthelot reaction). This polyester cross linking approach is based on another type of chemical reaction. If time allows, CESI will describe this specific reaction in a more pedagogic approach that hopefully also can be understood by a non chemist.

Furthermore, the Armacell patent EP 2 163 577 A1 is refered:

“As taught by EP 2 163 577 A1, it is known within the art that a combination of PMDA (pyromellitic anhydride), PBO (1,3-phenylene-bis-oxazoline), and a sterically hindered phenol, i.e. a compound comprising a 4-hydroxy-3,5-di-tert-butyl-phenyl moiety, may be used to improve the properties of PET. The sterically hindered phenols are stated to be believed to act as hydrogen donor, wherein radical scavenger neutralizes the alcoxy or peroxy radicals generated by hydrolytic or thermal degradation, and does thus terminate the chain propagation of degradation processes. It also stated that, by adding sterically hindered phenols, the effectiveness of functional anhydride groups remain, therefore, intact for further upgrading reactions.”

“The present inventors have unexpectedly found that the addition of poly functional compounds comprising at least two non-sterically hindered phenolic hydroxyl groups rather than sterically hindered phenols, as taught be EP 2 163 577A1, improves the PET further. Further, the present inventors have also found that the non-sterically hindered phenolic hydroxyl groups may be replaced or complemented with carboxy groups.”

CESI Conclusions: A or B or C 

  • A: Nexam and Armacell is working closely togheter (= very positive)
  • B: Nexam is fully or partly taking the role as a sheer (successful) innovator in Armacell´s- and other competitor´s core PET research areas thereby securing IP and potential near future business value also within this segment (= positive)
  • C: Nexam aims to independently and additionally capitalize on the invention in PET areas not covered by the current PET foam exclusivity agreement (= positive, exlusivity agreement source link)

Is Armacell planning to purchase PBO (on scale) from Nexam? Was this a key driver for the recent Nexam PBO commercialization? Time will tell.

Best regards, C.E.S.I.

The author, Cutting Edge Science Invest, is a Nexam Chemical share holder. Cutting Edge Science Invest can not guarantee, or take into  accountability, the content of truth and accuracy of the information in this article/post.Thus, Cutting Edge Science Invest requires that a possible reader gather complimentary information if any type of investment in the company described above is considered.

Cutting Edge Science Invest provides personally biased information and at best also “general information and opinions”.

The article/post does not contain professional investment advice. 

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