Overview | Recent Advances
Functional Additives focuses on working with industrial customers to solve their problems. We seek to provide customers with differentiated products and technologies to improve the performance of their products.
- Our polymer additives offer higher impact resistance, better toughness, increased melt strength, faster processing speeds and increased heat stability for polymers.
- Our glass coatings technologies lead to improved glass containers, more energy efficient windows and transparent conducting oxides, a critical component for photovoltaics, lighting and displays.
- Our organic peroxides generate radicals that initiate polymerizations to produce polymers such as polyethylene, polystyrene, PVC and acrylics. The radicals are also used to initiate crosslinking reactions in rubber, polymers and composites, where they bring improved physical and chemical properties. Organic peroxides are also used for bleaching of flour and dairy products and as active ingredients in skin care products.
Functional Additives significantly focuses on developing products for sustainability. We are committed to developing sustainable additives that will lead to more efficient use of resources and energy, manage or create less waste, extend the life of existing products and develop and grow new products to harness new or renewable sources of energy and materials. Several disciplines are essential to our ability to succeed in these research efforts.
Polymer and Material Science:
Expertise in polymer reactivity, processing, blends, and characterization provides the foundation for all of our work in polymer additives, polymer transformation, polymer modification and crosslinking. Polymer science helps design new polymer architectures and in understanding how our impact modifiers and process aids function. It helps understand how crosslinking reactions and other forms of polymer modification will improve the physical and chemical properties of polymers, elastomers and composites.
A common theme in this area is the design and synthesis of specific polymer architectures to achieve targeted properties. We use emulsion polymerization to make core-shell polymer structures that serve as impact modifiers for polymers and to make high molecular weight copolymers that facilitate polymer processing. We use organic peroxides as radical initiators for polymerization in bulk or solution; our ability to control the reactivity of the radicals we generate is also important in developing new polymers and new applications for organic peroxides.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD):
CVD techniques are used to deposit metal, metal oxide and metal nitride films onto glass or polymer substrates to improve optical and functional properties. Our business provides CVD technology to glass manufacturers for the production of coated window glass with improved energy efficiency. CVD technology is also used to develop new functional materials for photovoltaics, lighting and displays. Expertise in this area is essential to developing these new materials, expanding the applications of these materials and improving the CVD processes customers use to manufacture these materials. This expertise is also required to characterize these materials.
Organometallic and Organic Chemistry:
The disciplines provide the basis for the design of new precursors for CVD and for the development of new organic peroxide initiators and new organotin compounds for use as stabilizers and catalysts. They are essential for the process research and development work required to scale up the manufacture of new products and to improve the processes for existing products. Knowledge of organic chemistry also helps us to understand the chemistry of our organic peroxides and the radicals they generate.
Functional Additives research at Arkema is a global effort; research teams in King of Prussia work with teams located in several laboratories in France, as well as research and technical service teams in the Netherlands, Germany, China, Mexico and Brazil.
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