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News

Cellulose fibre-reinforced polypropylene compounds for eco-friendly durables

RTP Company : 30 July, 2013  (New Product)
RTP has unveiled the latest addition to its Eco Solutions product portfolio with a new line of custom cellulose fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP) compounds. These compounds, which utilise Weyerhaeuser's Thrive renewable cellulose fibre extracted from trees grown in sustainably managed forests, will facilitate the design and production of environmentally friendly products by providing favorable performance and economics to a wide range of durable applications.

"RTP's new cellulose fibre reinforced PP compounds overcome many of the obstacles that have hindered the adoption of bio-based resins and natural fibre compounds," said Will Taber, Business Manager - Emerging Technologies at RTP. "They will allow product developers to meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly products that are highly functional yet cost effective. Additionally, they can help processors and OEMs to meet their sustainability objectives by reducing processing costs. On multiple fronts these new compounds provide an unmatched advantage."

Cellulose fibres are a unique reinforcement that can be incorporated into PP to provide increased strength, stiffness, and thermal performance making these compounds suitable for structural applications while providing sought after eco-friendly, renewable content.

In comparison to other natural fibres like wood, hemp, and sisal or natural fillers like wood flour and wheat straw - cellulose fibre provides higher strength and stiffness, consistent colour, superior processability, low odour, and a reliable supply.

Advantages cellulose fibre has over glass fibre as reinforcement in PP include: renewable content to meet sustainability objectives, lower energy consumption during processing, specific gravity reductions of 6-9% at like loadings, average cycle time reductions up to 30% for medium to thick walled parts, and reduced tool wear.

Compared to unreinforced PP, a homopolymer PP with 20% cellulose fibre reinforcement offers a 38% increase in tensile strength, a 75% boost in flexural modulus, and a 60F rise in heat deflection at 66psi (16C at 455kPa). Cellulose fibre reinforced PP compounds from RTP also offer strength and stiffness that is comparable to uncoupled glass fibre reinforced PP and achieves approximately 75% of the performance of a chemically coupled glass fibre reinforced PP.

Cellulose fibre can also be combined with glass fibre or impact-modified copolymer for materials that meet requirements of more demanding applications. These compounds can also incorporate post-consumer recycled PP to maximize their eco-friendly content. Additionally, they are fully colourable, can be overmoulded with select RTP thermoplastic elastomers to enhance application ergonomics, and are available worldwide from RTP's global network of full-service facilities that provide technical support from design through finished part production.

Cellulose fibre reinforced PP compounds have potential uses in a variety of structural injection moulded parts including bezels, bases, brackets, knobs, handles, lids, and housings for the automotive, appliance, furniture, lawn and garden, sporting goods, and toy markets. They are a part of RTP's portfolio that provide new design and performance options for manufacturers of eco-conscious products through materials that use bio-based or recycled content resins and natural fibre reinforcement.

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