Nanostrength®, A Unique Acrylic Block Copolymer Offering13 Feb 2008 • by Natalie Aster
In the nanotechnology age, changing matter at the nanometer scale offers some very interesting property tradeoffs. However, until now, these new nanotechnologies have yielded very few industrial achievements, with the main obstacle being the difficulty in fabricating matter down to this scale using available industrial techniques. Therefore, for many years, composite materials were not able to benefit from nanotechnologies.
To fulfill this need, Arkema has developed a solution consisting of acrylic block copolymers marketed as Nanostrength®. Today, Arkema is the world's first chemicals producer to market such a product range and its main innovation entails an acrylic block that is miscible with multiple polymers, including most industrial epoxy resins. Two classes of Nanostrength® are currently available:
- MMA copolymers: with poly(methylmethacrylate) endblocks and a poly(butylacrylate) central block
- SBM copolymers: with polystyrene, polybutadiene and polymethylmethacrylate
Block copolymers are made up of two or more chemically distinct segments, which inherently selfassemble at the molecular scale. Nanostructuration is due to the covalent linkage between the two dissimilar blocks, which typically have a strong repulsion for each other. The thermodynamic driving force behind this organization leads to highly reproducible and accurate ordering. Block copolymers can be readily blended with (and nanostructured within) homopolymers as long as one block segment is miscible with the homopolymer.
Nanostrength® imparts the following properties to the polymers they are added to:
- superior mechanical strength with no loss of the matrix's inherent properties
- highly reproducible nanostructuration
- compatibility with and a uniform dispersion of fillers
Nanostrength® have applications in wideranging markets, including:
- cuttingedge materials for the aerospace sector, sports, and car manufacture
- thermoplastic elastomers