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#12 (46), 2006
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New additives for thermoplastics from GRAFE  #12 (46), 2006

GRAFE

Wide range of additives for thermoplastic polymers supplied by German company GRAFE will allow the customers to improve properties of the product to fulfill the set requirements.

To add some sunlight
Modern materials for agricultural purposes like greenhouse films and multi-wall sheets reduce light transmission in the range between 4000 and 7000 nm, which stands for Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR) range. And it is this important part of visible light required by plants for growth. Especially plants that grow inside greenhouses use the light absorption in the red and blue areas of this range to grow properly.
Standard modifying additives and fillers used for greenhouse LDPE films as HALS, chalk, clay, reduce light transition around 70%. Due to low level of sun radiation during early spring, autumn and winter caused by cloudy weather the real amount of light reaching the ploants is actually much lower.
During the past 10 years developments in the sphere have been targeted at offering more near-red light to the plants. The application of red light emitting fluorescent pigments for agricultural applications, especially for roses, is already wide-spread. However, the properties of blue light of the range were not considered properly in agricultural materials production.

Light brighteners
Today optical brighteners are used for paper, textiles, toys and advertisement applications. But they are not suitable for agriculture due to their limited UV light stability and high tendency towards fast chemical degradation.
GRAFE Color Batch presents the first optical brightener suitable for greenhouse applications. The key features of the additive are:

  • extremely high stability to UV light;
  • no degradation under external climatic conditions;
  • long term performance;
  • easy processability in LDPE, EVA, PC and PMMA, basic polymers used in agriculture;
  • no negative side effects to usually used additives like HALS stabilizers or UV absorbers.
Use of this additive in greenhouse films provides increase of light quantity of the PAR range by conversion of UV radiation into blue light. This GRAFE product can be applied in any greenhouse formulations, It is the most effective in climatic zones with low level of sun radiation like Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe. No limits for this additive use have been discovered with regard to any type of crops. To confirm the new modifier efficiency GRAFE specialists carried out tests on tomato, strawberry and basilica plants as well as on white beans and some flowers.

 

GRAFE

Cooling and photo selective additives
Besides optical brighteners GRAFE specialists developed a cooling masterbatch able to reduce the temperature inside the greenhouse by absorbing the heat energy of the global radiation in the near infra red range. Apart from the long performance and the high stability against UV light the masterbatch provides extremely high light transmission in the PAR range in comparison with other similar additives which are based on organic near infra red absorbers and inorganic mica as interference pigments. Cooling additive from GRAFE can be used in multi-layer LDPE films as well as multi-wall sheets made of PC or PMMA in form of a coextruded thin layer. The intensity of heat absorption depends mainly on the applied amount of masterbatch in the final product. In the list of the GRAFE Development and Research Department to come to the market there is a new masterbatch for a photo selective film for the application on white asparagus plantations. Basic characteristics of this kind of film are ability to absorb UV light together with visible light and simultaneously to provide transmission of near infra red range. The product has the following advantages:

  • a faster growth of the white asparagus at the beginning of the year;
  • a non-coloration of the asparagus spikes till harvesting.
At the moment respective trials of the new masterbatch are under way.

 

Modifiers
Other masterbatch developments of GRAFE should also be mentioned. For example, high performance modifying additive masterbatches for fibre applications like flame retardants, antistatic and conductive substances are planned to be promoted in the market. The company also keeps priority of price policy and guaranteed processability of the product.
GRAFE is one of the few European masterbatch producers that are able to produce their own melt spun fibres (round and triobal) from PP, PA (1000 to 1600 dtex) and PET (260 to 540 dtex) with 48 to 80 single filaments with a minimum amount of 1 kg processing material. This equipment is used to produce fibres from own colour and additive masterbatches with the purpose of consideration of customers' demands while new products development. Among the most important trends of GRAFE activity is production of additives modifying dielectric polymer characteristics. One of GRAFE divisions is engaged in carbon black based production of electrical conductive compounds from PP and HDPE. Now long term tests of a new carbon black type providing excellent particle dispersion in thin LDPE films are carried out.
Soon a new compound that connects the flame retardant with conductive properties of extruded PP wares is expected to be developed.
Besides, new masterbatch formulations are being elaborated for films and fibres with conductive performance of between 10E5 and 10E9 Ohm with the target of costs reduction and increase of long term performance of finished product.
We offer you to find innovative solutions for improvement of the manufactured product together with GRAFE.


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