Polymer additives are the substances or chemicals which are mixed with the polymers and the matrix therein to bring certain qualities to the end polymer product. The additives, thus, improve the processability of the polymers and may bring certain features that increase their benefits towards end-use and enhance the life of products containing polymers. When we take a review of these additives, it is essential to know more about some of the vital types of these additives used in the current and modern manufacturing scenarios of polymer-based products.
The polymer processing additives improve the processability while not affecting the physical properties of any polymer adversely. Some of the examples here may include heat stabilizers, processing substances and aids, and lubricants used externally or internally. For instance, the PVC polymers are mixed with the heat stabilizer and polymer additives to become more resistant to heat and temperature variations.
Some of the common anti-ageing additives used for polymers include UV stabilizers and antioxidants, etc. For instance, when used in the synthesis and manufacturing of rubber products, these additives bring better resilience to rubber towards oxidation that may occur to the substance due to ozone and oxygen. Hence the anti-ageing additives enhance the surface life of certain polymer products, including rubber. The polymer-based products will not be deteriorated when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays when they possess these anti-ageing additives. The standard UV absorbers and additives may include triazoles and benzophenones. These additives actively screen the polymer molecules and absorb harmful photons. The excitation energy is dissipated in the form of heat, and hence the formation of radicals is prevented.
Surface Property Modifiers
As the name suggests, a surface property modifier provides certain functional benefits when added to a polymer. For instance, these additives may bring certain anti-slip or slip properties to the surface of a polymer or resist any static charges when the surface of a polymer comes in contact with another counter surface. These additives are more commonly used for film-based products. The use of the additive may provide for a smoother flow of the polymer products while they are used.
Optical Property Modifiers
In some cases, a proper polymer’s optical property requires specific changes in areas, including colouration and transparency. Dyes, pigments, and nucleating agents may be used to attain the desired results. The addition of the optical property modifiers and polymer additives may provide the requisite colouring effect. More transparency to the crystalline polymers can also be produced through the use of nucleating agents.
The special additives are the polymer additives that can produce specific end effects in a polymer product. For instance, a polymer product may have properties, including flame-retardance, by the use of these special additives. The blowing agents and odour additives are also certain special additives used for the polymers. The use of these flame-retardants can be found in the electrical applications so that a spark does not burn the plastics. Foamed products can be formed through the use of blowing agents, while the odour additives can provide a more pleasant smell to a polymer product.
The mechanical properties and qualities of a polymer may also be modified through the use of reinforcements, fillers, and plasticizers. In these cases, the quantity of the additive maybe even more than 50% weight of the matrix. The use and employability of a particular polymer additive may depend on the environmental and technical conditions the polymer may be subjected to. Hence, choosing the right and quality additive is of great importance.