Thursday, February 23, 2012: 05:35:41 PM

New Standards Set for PPA-based Materials

Arkema has expanded its Rilsan® HT (high temperature) range with an ultra-flexible grade that is close to the flexibility of polyamide extrusion grades. Rilsan HT is the first flexible polyphthalamide (PPA)-based material to replace metal in high-temperature tubing applications. With this breakthrough in ultra-flexibility, new opportunities for cost-effective alternatives to metal, rubber or fluorinated polymers in tubing assemblies are becoming a reality. With up to 70% renewable carbon content, Rilsan HT aptly fits many industries’ focus on environmentally sustainable solutions.

The Most Flexible Grade in the PPA Material Class
In the PPA material class is known for its success as a metal substitute as well as its inherent brittleness and restriction to rather rigid injection-moulded parts, the first flexible Rilsan HT grade with an 820 MPa modulus marks a significant step-change. This latest member of the Rilsan HT family now shifts the modulus boundaries even further downward, close to 500 MPa.

‘With the ultra-flexible Rilsan HT, Arkema’s researchers have found a way to further lower the modulus down to 520 MPa, thanks to innovative material technologies and Arkema’s long-standing experience in long-chain, high-performance polyamides’, said Michaela Steng, Business Manager, Rilsan HT. The new ultra-flexible grade offers the optimum properties of long-chain aliphatic Rilsan PA11 and traditional semi-aromatic PPA materials. With this breakthrough technology, it combines the flexibility of PA11 - marking another milestone in the PPA material class - with the high-temperature resistance of conventional PPA grades.

Benchmarking Passed with an ‘Even Better’ Rating
Among the other competitive features that have built the success of Rilsan HT are its superior, long-term resistance to thermo-oxidation and chemical aging at high temperature, as well as its low moisture uptake and cold impact properties when compared with other high-temperature thermoplastics and classical PPA-based resins. The new Rilsan HT is doing even better. Its thermal resistance has been improved, with service time at a given temperature further extended and service temperature for a given service time increased by up to 10°C when compared with the existing range. In addition, its excellent cold impact properties are similar to those of Rilsan PA 11.

The Perfect Fit for a Wide Range of Applications
Rilsan HT’s performance spectrum makes it particularly well-suited for under-the-hood automotive applications. Its ease of thermoforming and processing on standard equipment for all kinds of tubing technologies (smooth and corrugated tube extrusion, extrusion blow moulding) allows optimum design flexibility and cost-effective manufacturing. As a result, Rilsan HT has already established itself as a cost-effective lightweight alternative to metal or rubber tubing assemblies in many under-the-hood applications, such as blow-by, oil transport, air intake and vacuum management.

Additionally, the property profile of the ultra-flexible PPA grade - outstanding flexibility, cold impact, excellent resistance to chemicals, oil and other fluids at high temperature - makes it an ideal substitute to costly fluoropolymers or elastomers (ETFE, PTFE, FKM) in many other markets: demanding industrial applications, such as flexible high-temperature pneumatic and hydraulic tubing, or cable sheathing. Rilsan HT’s lower material costs, lower density, and cost-efficiency thanks to easy processing compared with fluoropolymers, contribute to significantly reduced part and system costs, making the ultra-flexible Rilsan HT a genuine alternative to ‘over designed’ materials.

A Material with an Environmental Advantage
High performance does not exclude using renewable materials. As communicated, Rilsan HT is up to 70% based on a renewable non-food-crop vegetable feedstock (castor oil). Compared with conventional, petroleum based high-temperature plastics, CO2 emissions are substantially lower and fossil resources are conserved.

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