Additives in polymer matrix are used to improve, for instance, the dielectric or thermal properties, flame-retardance, UV stability, or barrier properties of plastics. Smart use of additives will bring up new functionalities and savings in material use.
Rapid development of plastic materials has made them more desirable as replacements for other materials, e.g. light-weight materials for the automotive industry. The trend is strongly towards bio-based reinforcement and fillers.
Thermally conductive thermoplastic composite material development together with Carbodeon Ltd. Nanofiller-based composite and its processing was optimized for new products.
Tailoring plastic properties
VTT has a versatile pilot environment for plastic processing where precise control of nanodispersions enable tailoring of material properties. The key is the understanding of chemical and physical interactions in the polymer–additive interface. Evaluation of technical benefits together with economic aspects will help us to find the most beneficial choice for each customer and application.
Understanding of phenomena at the nanolevel has enabled the adjustment of the dielectric strength in thermoplastic and thermoset insulator materials. In addition, VTT has developed polymer nanocomposites and their processing so as to obtain flame-retardant polymer composites and electromechanical film, just to mention some examples.
The best total performance
VTT’s facilities for plastic material processing enable material development for a variety of applications. The R&D equipment ranges from laboratory to production scale. This makes the development very flexible. What is more, VTT is an active partner in many European consortia aiming at new functional plastic materials.
Plastic material development has provided higher performance, for example in packaging, electrical components (e.g. high-voltage insulators, capacitor films and cables), as well as in building and construction (e.g. foam structures).
Enhancements in plastic material performance usually generate other benefits, such as lower material consumption, lower weight, and thus energy and resource efficiency.