Pep Catalan, Sales Manager – Speciality Polyamides for Arkema (France) said they intended to continue to lead the field in production of high performance polyamides based on castor oil chemistry. Their Rilsan® process, established in the 1950’s as a way of avoiding the Dupont nylon patents, did not compete with food, avoided deforestation and used a crop which could be grown in semi-arid areas. It was now a high-performance, high temperature resistance bio-plastic for engineering applications.
Compared with the petro-polyamides, on a cradle to factory gate basis, it reduced global warming potential by up to 52%, saving 4.7 tonnes CO2 emissions for every tonne of polymer produced.
A new elastomeric version, a PA/polyether block copolymer called “Pebax”, is now available. Here the PA is bio-based but the polyether isn’t. “Pebax Rnew” is however based on 95% renewable carbon and has high energy absorbtion and recovery. This springy polymer is being developed for running shoes and ski-boots.
“Rilsan Clear” is a cycloaliphatic PA, now also bio-based. It has glass-like transparency.