New Polyamide Grades Use Castor Oil as Source15 Sep 2010 • by Natalie Aster
A bio-based alternative for polyamide (PA) components used in applications such as sports equipment, automotive components, and electronics recently was added to Evonik Industries’ (Essen, Germany) Vestamid family. The current source for the material is castor oil, which is obtained from a plant that is not used as human or animal food. Sold under the Vestamid Terra name, the DS grade is a 100% bio-based PA10.10 that offers properties between standard shorter-chain PA6 and high-performance, long-chain PA12, and is suitable for glass-fiber-reinforced molding compounds. The other grade, Terra HS, is a PA6.10 containing approximately 60% renewable raw materials.
These semicrystalline compounds offer high mechanical strength and resistance to stress cracking and chemicals, even at high humidity, due to the materials’ high heat deflection temperatures and low water absorption capacity. And despite its crystallinity, Terra DS is translucent, so it can be processed into components needing good contaact transparency. Evonik also offers blends based on this PA that provide even better translucence. Both the DS and HS grades are each available in two different viscosities, and also grades with 30-65% glass fiber content.
Over the life of a product made from Vestamid Terra, the CO2 balance is more favorable than for exclusively petroleum-based PA products. Evonik is also working to develop PA from renewables based on rapeseed and palm kernel oils.
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