Biobased compounds for breathable films from Teknor Apex/Arkema

Teknor Apex Company and Arkema have teamed up to develop a new family of compounds based on the combination of Arkema's Pebax thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) with Teknor Apex's Terraloy bioplastic. The strategic alliance will broaden the range of biobased breathable films, enabling manufacturers of housewrap to increase their product offerings and expand their commitment to sustainability.

The compounds are comprised of a blend of Pebax engineering-grade TPE with Teknor Apex's Terraloy bioplastics, which are derived from plant-based, renewable resources. Pebax products are block copolymers (polyether block amide - PEBA); Terraloy is a family of thermoplastic starch (TPS) compounds, based on a patented technology from Cerestech, which involves preparing TPS from starch granules and then combining it with bioplastics.

By varying the Terraloy biopolymer content in the new compounds, Teknor Apex has developed multiple grades of the blend, which can be used to produce films with various levels of moisture permeability. Such films can be bonded with nonwoven fabrics to form housewraps that allow moisture vapour to escape from homes, preventing mould and mildew, yet remain waterproof.

Teknor Apex is one of the world's largest custom compounders of plastics and has developed a diversified range of biopolymer compounds under the Terraloy brand. "Working cooperatively with Arkema, Teknor Apex has extended the applicability of Pebax elastomer in building and construction," said Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives for the bioplastics division of Teknor Apex.

Meanwhile, Arkema's Pebax TPE products combine the advantages of thermoplastics with the elasticity of rubber and provide exceptional performance. When extruded into a thin film or laminated to a substrate, they offer excellent permeability to moisture vapour while remaining waterproof. They do not require an adhesive or bonding agent to adhere to synthetic nonwovens.

"We are excited to join forces with Teknor Apex," said Laurent Cartier, Arkema's Pebax TPE sales and business development manager. "Adding biopolymer to Pebax has broadened its breathability characteristics while maintaining good adhesion to fabric."


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