Post-consumer PET bottles turn into PBT resins for electrical industry

Sabic, a global leader in the chemical industry, launched LNP Elcrin WF0051iQ compound featuring thin-wall, non-brominated/non-chlorinated flame retardance (FR). It is the newest addition to the company’s family of sustainable iQ resins and it is well suited for electrical applications. The new grade is intended to increase Sabic’s diversion of post-consumer PET water bottles, which are chemically upcycled into polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin. At the end of 2022, the company had already diverted 400 million 0.5-liter bottles through its iQ upcycling technology.

“LNP Elcrin WF0051iQ compound can offer the electrical industry a novel solution that can significantly improve sustainability while delivering tailored performance properties that are essential for ever-smaller and more-powerful components,” said Joshua Chiaw, Director, Business Management, LNP & NORYL, Specialties, Sabic.

Smaller carbon footprint

Compared to standard, fossil-based virgin PBT resin, the new compound’s carbon footprint is 11 percent less, says Sabic. This reduction is due, primarily, to the incorporation of 39 0.5-liter PET water bottles in each kilogram of LNP Elcrin WF0051iQ compound, representing a minimum of 27 per cent of the content. SCS Global Services (SCS) has audited and provided independent verification that the manufacturing processes for LNP Elcrin iQ compounded resins adhere to the SCS Recycled Content Standard, and that the supply chain meets criteria for responsible sourcing including social, environmental, health and safety requirements (Certified Green Products Guide | SCS Global Services).

Beyond the reuse of waste plastic, the compound can offer additional sustainability benefits, says Sabic. For example, the ability to design thin walls with this compound helps reduce the consumption of fossil-based raw materials, and the FR formulation helps avoid the use of bromine and chlorine, two semi-volatile organic compounds that are linked to health and environmental risks.

The combination of thin-wall FR, long-term property retention and glass fibre reinforcement for stiffness and high flow to enable complex geometries makes the compound well suited for miniaturised electrical components such as connectors, switches and sockets. The product is available in custom colours.

High performance for electrical applications

The new resin is the first LNP Elcrin iQ compound to meet the UL94 V0 standard for fire resistance at 0.4 mm and has received a Yellow Card listing under the UL Plastics Recognition Program for the signature sustainability green colour. The material’s relative thermal index (RTI) is 130 °C at 0.4 mm, and the comparative tracking index (CTI) is 2, contributing to safety and reduced material requirements that can lower the cost of tooling and accelerate time to market. Complementing these performance properties are many processability benefits, including high flow for fast throughput, and low abrasion properties, compared to alternatives.

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