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MASTERBATCH | MATERIALS


Recent masterbatch developments have helped create a wide range of innovative products, from plastics with insecticide effect to geomembranes and anti- microbial food packaging. Lou Reade reports


Making more of masterbatches


Delegates at last year’s Masterbatch conference – organised by AMI, and held in Madrid, Spain – learnt how effective compounding can create effective products for a number of industries, including food and agriculture. Vanessa Gutierrez Aragones, a compounding


researcher at Aimplas in Spain, told delegates of a project to develop masterbatches that can imbue plastics with a long-lasting insecticide effect. Developing such plastics could be more effective than conventional solutions, such as crop spraying and insect traps. “The main reasons for developing active plastics – with insecticide effect – are to prevent transmis- sion of diseases, control harmful pests and improve quality and comfort of life,” she said. Plastics with an insecticide effect are already available, and typically made using those that process at low temperatures, such as PVC and silicones. She added that insecticidal products can have limitations, such as high migration speed and short effective duration. This is often due to the high volatility and thermo-sensitivity of the active ingredient. However, encapsulating the ingredient can help to prolong the lifetime. Aimplas has developed several plastic product with an insecticide effect. In one example, it made a masterbatch – with a PP or LDPE matrix – which was then processed by blown film extrusion. The


www.filmandsheet.com


resultant film was effective against flies, mosquitoes and even cockroaches. The effect was only slightly reduced by ageing – as shown from tests that simulated six months of storage. In a second project, the team incorporated insecticides and repellants into foamed plastics, including EVA. The resultant material was highly effective against mosquitores.


Food for thought Plastics that come into contact with food are highly controlled – for obvious reasons – and part of the reason is to ensure that additives do not affect food quality or pose a risk to the consumer. At the same time, packaging manufacturers and


brand owners want to make their products as eye-catching as possible. This may rely on using brightly coloured pigments. Daniel Llado, technical marketing manager for


plastics at Ferro, said that inorganic pigments such as its Ultramarine Blue products are tested thor- oughly to ensure they meet relevant standards. In one case, it investigated whether sulphur species were behind potential off-tastes in water – but found that levels in its products were very low. He also pointed to a black pigment, which is food compliant while also reflecting near-infrared radiation (NIR) – allowing packaging made with the material to be easily detected for recycling.


Main image: Aimplas has developed masterbatches that can imbue plastics with a long-lasting insecticide effect


� July/August 2019 | FILM & SHEET EXTRUSION 31


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK


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