BASF supports new polymeric flame retardant

(BASF) -- BASF supports the announcement that Dow Chemical has signed a license agreement with Chemtura Corporation for the production of a new brominated polymeric flame retardant and that Chemtura plans to build a production facility for this substance. Dow aims to finalize agreements with other licensees by the end of 2011 to ensure sufficient volumes for the global market. Like other companies, BASF has also been investigating the use of this polymer, which Dow developed as a replacement for HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane).

HBCD is used as a flame retardant to ensure that expandable and extruded polystyrene foam insulation (EPS and XPS) meets high fire safety standards. Although HBCD plays an important role in protecting human lives and property from fire, the substance is listed as subject to authorization under the European Union's REACH legislation. Unless it is expressly authorized as a flame retardant its use will be restricted as of 2015 due to environmental concerns. Dow's new polymer ensures the same flame retardancy as HBCD while offering a superior environmental profile.


Chicken feathers can be turned into biodegradable thermoplastics

(Plastemart) -- A technique whereby chicken feathers can be turned into biodegradable thermoplastics has been developed by researchers at the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The new research purports to have found a way to create durable thermoplastics from chicken feathers. The new technique is an advancement over previous efforts in that it performs well when wet. ⌠Using this technique, we believe we're the first to demonstrate that we can make chicken-feather-based thermoplastics stable in water while still maintaining mechanical properties. says Yiqi Yang, Ph.D., the study's leader.

Chicken feathers are an excellent prospect because they are inexpensive and abundant. Few shoppers think about it, but every shrink-wrapped broiler in the supermarket cooler leaves behind a few ounces of feathers. Annually there are more than 3 bln lbs of waste chicken feathers in the United States alone.

The team has tried to turn the feathers into thermoplastic, so it can also be used as the matrix material for composites, instead of using polyethylene or polypropylene. A chemical called methyl acrylate is added to the keratin, making it undergo polymerisation, the process which makes molecules link into long chains. This creates a film, which Dr Yang's group calls 'feather-g-poly(methyl acrylate)' plastic.


BASF new tool for automotive designers

(BASF) -- BASF's designfabrik is offering a new tool to designers and development engineers working in automotive design. The ⌠Material Kit is an attractively designed sample case that displays a large proportion of BASF's know-how in materials: Organized on the basis of feel, appearance and function, the Material Kit presents more than 30 different BASF products in the form of 4 x 6 cm samples that can be touched and felt.

As a result, designers can get a real feel for the BASF products they are considering for their automobile interior design concepts. In addition, text cards provide brief yet precise information on the materials' properties and specific uses. The materials can be examined, touched and compared, be they satin- or leather-like finishes, rigid or flexible polyurethane surfaces, foams, coatings, pigments, ceramic powders for injection molding or high-performance thermoplastic resins. As an application-oriented instrument, the Material Kit gives designers a feeling for the material from the very beginning of the creative development process.

BASF introduced the Material Kit to initial customers at the end of 2009. In October 2010, the innovative kit was honored by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE Europe, 10th Automotive Award) with its ⌠Grand Innovation Award in the Image / Product Brochure category for its novel approach and high-quality execution.


Czech producer Unipetrol is set to record a strong petrochemical performance

(ICIS) -- Czech producer Unipetrol is set to record a strong petrochemical performance for the first quarter after margins returned to growth, investment bank Wood & Company said on Tuesday. After suffering a dip last December on sharply rising feedstock costs, Unipetrol's integrated petrochemical margin rose in each of the following three months, delivering an average of EUR 626/t (USD 894/t) for the first quarter of 2011, according to the bank. This was up 17% on both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2010, Prague-based Wood & Company added.

For the first quarter of 2011, Unipetrol's model monomer margin rose to EUR 345/t from EUR 255/t in the fourth quarter of 2010 and EUR 278/t in the first quarter of 2010, the bank said.

The company's model polymer margin for the first quarter of this year edged up to EUR 281/t from EUR 278/t in the previous quarter and EUR 257/t in the first quarter of 2010.


Lanxess on course for growth in the Middle East

(LANXESS) -- German specialty chemicals group Lanxess is expanding its global presence and has founded a dedicated company for the Middle East. The office of Lanxess Middle East GmbH is located in Dubai. ⌠The markets of the Middle East offer Lanxess interesting prospects, both in terms of raw material supply and because of the increasing demand there for quality products. Through an increased presence we would like to more effectively evaluate and exploit this strategic potential, said Werner Breuers, a member of the Lanxess AG Board of Management, adding: ⌠Dubai is an ideal location in this regard.

Lanxess currently supplies customers in the Middle East primarily with specialty chemicals, color pigments for the construction industry and high-tech plastics and rubbers.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.1 bln in 2010 and currently around 14.850 employees in 24 countries. The company is represented at 45 production sites worldwide. The core business is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.