Canadian researchers develop new polymer coating for clothes against COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canadian researchers have developed an inexpensive, non-toxic coating for almost any fabric that decreases the infectivity of the virus that causes Covid-19 by up to 90%, according to Business Standard.

"When you're walking into a hospital, you want to know that pillow you're putting your head onto is clean," said lead author Taylor Wright, a doctoral student in the department of chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

"This coating could take a little bit of the worry off frontline workers to have Personal Protection Equipment with antimicrobial properties," Wright said.

Researchers soaked fabric in a solution of a bacteria-killing polymer which contains a molecule that releases sterilizing forms of oxygen when light shines on it.

They then used an ultraviolet (UV) light to turn this solution to a solid, fixing the coating to the fabric.

"This coating has both passive and active antimicrobial properties, killing microbes immediately upon contact, which is then amped-up when sunlight hits the cloth," said senior author Dr. Michael Wolf, Professor of chemistry at UBC.

Both components are safe for human use, and the entire process takes about one hour at room temperature, said Wright. It also makes the fabric hydrophobic, meaning microbes are less likely to stick to the cloth, and doesn't seem to affect the strength of the fabric.

In addition, the coating can be used on almost any fabric, including cotton, polyester, denim, and silk, with applications in hospital fabrics, masks. It can also be used for activewear, with an 'anti-stink' coating applied to areas where people tend to sweat, killing off the bacteria that makes us smell, according to the study published in American Chemical Society Applied Materials & Interfaces journal.

While other such technologies can involve chemical waste, high energy use, or expensive equipment, the UBC method is relatively easy and affordable, Wright noted.

As MRC reported before, in May 2020, Borealis started production of meltblown fabrics for face mask applications on its unique pilot line in Linz, Austria. Borealis managed quickly to convert the way of working from pure development to smaller scale pilot production to regularly produce rolls of fine fibre fabrics for face masks. Recently developed by Borealis, a new proprietary polypropylene (PP) meltblown resin has boosted filtration properties due to its capability for finer fibres. By exploiting a robust network of co-operation partners in the country, Borealis is helping bolster the supply of filtration media to increase face masks production.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

LG Chem 2021 net profit surge to 3.95 tln won

MOCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem Ltd., South Korean petrochemical major, has reported its 2021 net profit of 3.95 trillion won (USD3.3 billion), up 479.4% from a year earlier, according to YONHAP News Agency.

The company said in a regulatory filing that operating income for the year rose 178.4% on-year to 5.02 trillion won.

LG Chem's annual revenue increased by 41.9% to 42.65 trillion won.

As MRC reported before, LG Chem plans to shut down its naphtha cracker in the Korean city of Yeosu for a scheduled turnaround this year. Thus, LG Chem is expected to put its Yeosu naphtha cracker under scheduled maintenance sometime in the second half of 2022. LG Chem's Yeosu naphtha cracker can produce 1.16 MMtpy of ethylene.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.

SPI strengthens its collaboration with Milliken to develop clear PP lid for food packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Plastic Industry Co. Ltd., (or SPI) has leveraged its close, working relationship with additives supplier Milliken & Company to develop a clear, anti-fogging polypropylene (PP) lid for its microwaveable food packaging, according to SpecialChem.

Using Milliken’s Millad NX 8000 clarifier, the two parties have produced an UltraClear polypropylene (PP) resin that delivers on all the performance promises for ready-meal packaging, while also offering additional processing benefits. SPI also recently began using Milliken’s Hyperform HPN performance additives in its PP formulations, as well.

“By using Milliken’s additives, we are able to thermoform our products at a lower processing temperature, which allows us to reduce our energy use,” said Mr Tosho Wang, president of SPI. “At the same time,” he said, “these additives allow SPI to produce a thinner PP lid without affecting rigidity, which in turn helps to reduce plastic usage while increasing output.”

Saving energy during processing is a major plus for SPI, which runs dozens of thermoforming machines in its Taiwan plant.

The aim has been to replace oriented polystyrene (OPS) in this key application, but it wasn’t easy to find a way to get the highly recyclable PP to meet all the necessary performance requirements while also retaining the clarity and non-yellowing aesthetics that are vital to appealing to consumers on the grocery store shelves.

“Milliken’s additives produce an UltraClear PP that prevents yellowing, reduces oxidation reaction, and extends the shelf life of packaged product,” added Kua Cheng Huat, Milliken sales manager for Taiwan. But its crystal clarity is one of the most important features.

SPI, which now uses Milliken clarifiers in all its UltraClear™ PP packaging products, says it plans in the future to also explore using the material to expand the use of PP in more food applications, including some that currently use polyethylee terephthalate (PET). When it comes to thermoformed PP food packaging for South Plastic Industry, the way forward is clear and involves further close collaboration with Milliken.

As MRC reported earlier, in September 2020, Milliken (Spartanburg, North Carolina) said it had joined the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition (PRC), an industry collaboration launched in July by The Recycling Partnership (TRP) aimed at improving recovery and recycling of PP in the US.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering, and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. The company creates coatings, specialty chemicals, and advanced additive and colorant technologies that transform the way we experience products from automotive plastics to children's art supplies.

Heubach Group and SK Capital Partners close acquisition of Clariat global colorants business

Heubach Group and SK Capital Partners close acquisition of Clariat global colorants business

MOCOW (MRC) -- The Heubach Group, a leading global producer of pigments and SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on the specialty materials, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors, has recently announced the completion of the acquisition of Clariant’s Global Colorants Business (Clariant Pigments), as per Sk Capital's press release.

The combined business will operate under the Heubach brand, creating a global pigment technology and industry leader.

The newly combined Heubach Group is a leading global provider of comprehensive color solutions, supplying a broad portfolio of organic, inorganic, and anti-corrosive pigments, pigment preparations, dyes, colorants and specialty materials. The company is a technological and quality leader and operates its global business from nineteen manufacturing facilities across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa, employing approximately 3,000 people. The headquarters of the Heubach Group will be established in Vienna, Austria.

Johann Heubach, of the Heubach Group, stated, “The new Heubach is a world-class organization with great talent, technology and assets. For us, product excellence and sustainability are core. We are well-positioned to create significant value for our customers and business partners across the many industries we serve.”

Aaron Davenport, a Managing Director of SK Capital, noted, “The combination of Heubach and Clariant Pigments creates an industry leader committed to the highest standards in manufacturing, quality and service. We look forward to supporting management in the growth and improvement of the Company by investing into talent, innovation and market expansion.”

As MRC reported earlier, in October 2020, Clariant announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art catalyst production site in China. This project represents a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. Thanks to its excellent reliability and productivity, Catofin delivers superior annual production output compared to alternative technologies, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers, says the company. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

With a tradition of delivering excellence that stretches back over 200 years, the Heubach name is synonymous with innovation, attention to customer needs and reliability in creating colors. Today’s Heubach is a global industry leader in the field of pigments, pigment preparations, dyes, colorants and specialty materials. Heubach has a global manufacturing footprint including 19 facilities around the globe and generates approximately EUR1 billion in annual sales.

SK Capital is a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors. SK Capital’s portfolio of businesses generates revenues of approximately USD14 billion annually, employs more than 20,000 people globally and operates 191 plants in 32 countries.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

Chemours Q4 profit climbs

Chemours Q4 profit climbs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US-based pigment and fluoroproducts producer Chemours reported a year-on-year increase in Q4 net income because of the benefit of the sale of a business, said the company.

The company reported a one-time benefit of USD112m because of the sale of its Mining Solutions business. The following table shows the company's quarterly financial performance. Chemours did not report quarterly cost of sales. For Titanium Technologies, sales volumes rose by 6% year on year despite of ore and logistics constraints. Prices rose 19%.

The segment makes titanium dioxide (TiO2). For Thermal & Specialized Solutions, volumes fell 11% because lower demand from automobile original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Automobile producers have lowered production because of a shortage of semiconductor chips.

Meanwhile, prices contributed 19%. The segment makes fluorochemicals including Opteon hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs)

For Advanced Performance Materials, demand continued to exceed the company's ability to supply. Volumes rose by 15% and prices by 10%. The segment makes fluoropolymers such as Teflon. Segment sales fell because of the sale of the Mining Solutions business.

Chemical Solutions makes glycolic acid. For 2022, Chemours expects to report adjusted EBITDA of USD1.3bn-1.425bn. Adjusted earnings/share should be USD4.07-4.70. For comparison, 2021 adjusted EBITDA was USD1.313bn and adjusted earnings/share was USD4.00.

As per MRC, Chemours says it is looking to achieve a 60% absolute reduction of operations-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition to refrigerants, Chemours is a major producer of titanium dioxide, industrial fluoropolymer resins and derivatives and other chemical solutions.

As MRC informed before, in December 2019, Chemours announced plans to sell its methylamines and methylamides unit to Belle Chemical, an affiliate of Cornerstone Chemical. The sales price was not disclosed. Thus, Chemours had signed a letter of commitment with Belle Chemical Co. to sell Chemours' methylamines and methylamides business and production facilities at the Belle location. Earlier in 2019, Chemours announced it would stop making methylamines and methylamides at the plant. In 2020, it planned to start dismantling the methylamines operations. Once Belle takes possession of the plant, most of the employees at Belle and others assigned in supporting roles at other locations will become part of Belle, Chemours said. Cornerstone makes acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine at Fortier, Louisiana.

Chemours is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, providing its customers in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and oil refining operations and general industrial manufacturing. Chemours has approximately 9,000 employees across 37 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Del.