BASF's carbonyl iron powder to improve electrical components for smartphones and tablet

(BASF) -- High-purity carbonyl iron powder (CIP) from BASF contributes decisively to solving the problem of different voltage: incorporated in the cores of high frequency coils it makes sure that the current flowing into the sensitive electronics always has exactly the required voltage.

"With our decades of experience in synthesizing CIP, we can precisely control the structure of the iron particles and thus their electromagnetic properties to create an optimal material, thereby making even very small high-frequency coils extremely efficient," emphasizes Dr. Frank Prechtl, Business Manager at BASF. "Every tablet PC contains three or four of these high-frequency coils with CIP core, and a notebook has as many as ten."

CIP is produced from normal scrap iron, which is finely ground and reacted with carbon monoxide at increased temperatures under high pressure. CIP differs markedly from iron powders manufactured using other techniques, such as electrolytic processes or spray methods. This is the decisive factor for many applications - for example, the perfect spherical shape of the CIP particles in the coil cores allows them to be packed together particularly tightly and the wires of the coil are


Italy's Novamont to build a new type of BDO unit

(chemmonitor) -- The Italy-headquartered maker Novamont will start a new project. The project presupposes construction of a butanediol (BDO) facility. The product will be generated from renewable feedstock materials. The output will be mainly of the internal use. It will be the first plant of the type in Europe.

The US company Genomatica will assist in execution of the project. It will provide a manufacturing technology. The firms have inked a JV agreement.

A nameplate capacity of the unit will be 0.04 million lb per year. The plant is likely to initiate operations in two years.


Kaiser Permanente replaces PVC packaging with PET

(plasticstoday) -- Kaiser Permanente, a huge West Coast health provider, is banning use of PVC in tubing and bags and P&G is replacing PVC packaging in toothbrush containers with PET, which is more easily recyclable.

The irony is that just as widespread conversions out of PVC might really take hold in a few years, PVC could becoming one of the greener materials on the planet. For starters, consider that PVC is the only major volume thermoplastic that is substantially derived (57%) from a non-fossil fuel feedstock. Vinyl chloride monomer is derived from brine, which is industrial-grade salt.

The other feedstock for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is ethylene, which can now be made from sugar-derived ethanol in very large quantities in Brazil. Braskem has a huge plant while a Dow Mitsui joint venture is building another world-scale plant.

Solvay Indupa, the Brazilian arm of Belgium-based chemical giant Solvay, has announced plans to use Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as a PVC feedstock to replace naphtha, which has been bought from Middle-Eastern sources. According to Solvay's Erik De Leye, the project remains in the project stage for now, but a plant of 120,000 tonnes a year is envisioned. That would make PVC a 100% natural material from a polymer point of view.

The typical PVC compound, however, is heavily loaded with chemical additives, most famously plasticizers that impart flexibility. According to Kaiser Permanente, research suggests that long-term exposure to a commonly used plasticizer called DEHP can affect the body's endocrine system, resulting in a variety of hormonal abnormalities, particularly in infants. The European Union has banned some uses of DEHP, such as children's toys.


In Japan ethylene production in 2011 fell 4.7%

(Mainichi Daily News) -- Domestic production of ethylene, a key material for various petrochemical products, in 2011 fell 4.7 percent from the previous year to 6.69 million tons, falling below the 6.88 million tons marked in 2008 when the so-called Lehman Shock affected production, an industry body said Thursday.

The drop was attributed to stagnant demand from China, Japan's major export market for ethylene, in the latter half of 2011 due to the tightening of monetary policy in the country and the European debt crisis, according to the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association.

Kyohei Takahashi, the chairman of the association, said the industry is facing "an extremely severe environment" as "Japan's petrochemical industry depends on exports to China to maintain its operating rate."

Disrupted vehicle production following massive flooding in Thailand also affected ethylene output as automakers are major users of the compound, the association said.


In Russia PP production in 2011 grew by 9%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In 2011, Russian producers increased output of polypropylene (PP) by 9% to 681.4 thousand tonnes. The increase in production was achieved, due to reduced duration of scheduled turnaround at some production sites and exceeding of the rated capacity utilization, according to MRC ScanPlast.

In December, Russian producers reduced PP output to 55.4 thousand tonnes. This happened due to the accident at Stavrolen, which occurred on December 15 and resulted in the shutdown of the whole production complex of PP and PE. Over the first half of this month, the company was able to produced 5.83 tonnes of PP. Other Russian producers increased their output last month.

In general, following the results of 2011, total PP production in Russia made about 681.4 thousand tonnes, which was more by 9% year on year. The greatest increase in production capacity was seen at Neftekhimia with the output more than 114 thousand tonnes. A year earlier this figure made 96.9 thousand tonnes. Such a serious increase in production was achieved by shortening of the turnaround to one week.

In 2011, Nizhnekamskneftekhim increased PP production to 210.4 thousand tonnes, Tomskneftekhim - to 128.7 thousand tonnes, Ufaorgsyntez - to 106.2 thousand tonnes. Stavrolen increased PP production to 122 thousand tonnes, due to the reduced turnaround duration.

In 2011, the share of homopolymers of propylene in the total production decreased to 81%, whereas in 2010 it made nearly 85%. Total production of impact copolymers of propylene increased by 35% to 101 thousand tonnes. The main growth of production volumes was demonstrated by Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The output of stat-propylene copolymers increased by 16% and reached 25.6 thousand tonnes. Tomskneftekhim showed the main production increase due to increased production of pipe random-copolymer of propylene.