Materials Science

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals introduces safer organic peroxide system to the USA PVC market

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals will start supplying the first-ever emulsion-based organic peroxides in the USA for the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The emulsion products are safer alternatives to solvent-based peroxides for making PVC, a plastic used in everyday applications including pipes, doors, windows and home siding.

“Organic peroxides often decompose at very low temperatures, which can lead to combustion when not stored or handled properly,” explains Rob van de Graaf, Director of Sales, Americas – Polymer Chemistry. “Emulsions contain water, significantly reducing the chance of combustion, and increasing the safety of transport, storage and handling. The improved safety characteristics also allow for bulk storage and fully automated handling, reducing the risk of manual operation mishaps.”

Emulsion-based peroxides also contain an anti-freeze agent, preventing the ice crystal formation that sometimes occurs in solvent-based solutions, which can affect the feeding of initiator to the polymerization reaction. This also improves the product quality of the finished PVC product.

“European PVC manufacturers are already using our emulsion-based organic peroxides. With the introduction to the USA, we believe our customers there will realise the same benefits and we are confident that the organic peroxide emulsion market will continue to grow,” says Johan Landfors, Member of the Executive Committee responsible for Polymer Chemistry.

Emulsion-based peroxides are also used in the company’s Continuous Initiator Dosing (CiD) technology. With CiD, heat production in a PVC reactor is controlled by the dosing of the peroxide during the polymerisation process. This optimizes cooling capacity and reduces batch time by 20 to 40%, leading to an increase in overall capacity. It also further improves the PVC polymerization safety by being able to stop the polymerisation reaction at any moment, thus preventing run-away reactions.