Sabic Innovative Plastics’ ecological aims are taking one step forward with the introduction of two products in a new line of LNP Thermocomp specialty compounds that use curauá fibre and wood flour natural reinforcements.
According to Sabic, compared to traditional reinforcements such as glass fibre, natural fibres offer several environmental benefits; they are renewable, biodegradable and require less energy to produce. Further, they are lighter in weight than glass and other traditional fibres, helping to reduce energy consumption in shipping.
Curauá Fibre and Wood Flour
One of SABIC Innovative Plastics’ new materials is LNP Thermocomp PX07444 specialty compound, a polyamide (PA)-6 nylon that is reinforced with up to 20 percent curauá fibre.
The fibres extracted from the curauá plants leaves are said to have high mechanical strength. According to Sabic, this new LNP Thermocomp grade – while not identical in properties to glass-reinforced PA-6 – can potentially be substituted for the glass-filled nylon in specific applications such as automotive interior components. It provides a strength-to-weight advantage with good surface aesthetics.
Also, natural fibres such as curauá are said not to be as abrasive as glass or mineral reinforcement, thus reducing wear and tear on moulding equipment.
Another new grade, LNP Thermocomp MX07442 specialty compound, is polypropylene (PP) reinforced with 30 percent wood flour. Sabic are aiming this product as a replacement to wood because, in addition to having a similar appearance, it is more resistant to fungi and has better dimensional stability than natural wood.
They claim that compared to unfilled PP or 30 percent mineral-reinforced PP, this lower specific gravity compound has higher flexural strength with retained impact strength, thus providing a strength-to-weight advantage. It can be extruded and injection moulded, and provides a colourable surface with the natural grain of wood.
Sustainability for the Future
“There can be no doubt that sustainability is a top global priority now and for the future,” said Robert McKay, program manager for sustainable products, SABIC Innovative Plastics. In a pledge to further progression, he added, “We will continue to raise the bar in the development of sustainable solutions for our customers worldwide.”
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