August 2009

Bac2 develops retardant for polymeric pre-mixes, extending shelf-life from minutes to months

CSR10 latent acid catalyst enables safer handling, faster processing; makes new industrial processes possible and reduces costs

Southampton, UK, August 31, 2009: Bac2 has developed a latent acid catalyst, CSR10, that can be added to highly reactive pre-polymeric resins to enable them to be stored for at least 3 months prior to controlled polymerization at around 120 degrees C. Alternative catalysts have relatively poor storage characteristics, typically retarding violent polymerization reactions for just a few hours. Others require temperatures above 200 degrees C for activation, levels that are impractical for most polymer manufacturing processes. CSR10 will be particularly useful where polymeric pre-mix production is not carried out close to molding operations, as it enables safer transportation and storage of the bulk materials and reduces handling costs.

Pre-polymeric resins catalyzed by acids include phenol-formaldehyde resoles, furfuryl alcohol resins and amino-formaldehyde resins. They are widely used in everyday products including chipboard and laminates, composites in glass-reinforced plastics, foam insulation, abrasives and many other high volume products. The ability to control the reactivity of a pre-polymer-catalyst system is crucial in terms of safety and processing economics. Thermosetting resins can be violently reactive when mixed with strong acids and dangerous exothermic reactions can result. Furfuryl alcohol, for example, is a reactive pre-polymer component in varnishes, binders and composites. Like other thermosetting pre-polymers, furfuryl alcohol reacts violently when acidified, restricting its use to applications where acids are not used or where bulk preparation and storage is not important. CSR10 has been used to harness the reactivity of pre-polymers in order to reduce materials handling and processing costs, and enable the use of a wider range of pre-polymers in industrial applications.

The catalyst was originally developed for use with ElectroPhen™, Bac2’s conductive polymer used in the production of components for fuel cell plates1. In this application it had been necessary to pre-mix the catalyst and resin immediately before molding. The development of CSR10 has enabled storage life of the pre-mix to be extended from 30 minutes to over 3 months, dramatically reducing processing and equipment costs and increasing quality and reproducibility.

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