Zeon has developed a new material it is calling Quintac Styrene Block Copolymer. The new polymer, also known as QSBC, offers a unique combination of properties…the elasticity of SIS (styrene-isoprene-styrene) AND the heat resistance characteristics typical of SEPS (styrene-ethylene-propylene-styrene) or SEBS (Styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene). Zeon’s ability to control the polymer structure at the nano level is key to enabling design of this novel TPE.

Figure 1: QSBC Application Sweet Spot

 

QSBC is heat stable up to 170°C with high moisture resistance.  Its low odor and virtually undetectable VOCs make it a potential fit as a polymer performance additive for hot-melt pressure sensitive adhesives and sealants used in automotive interiors, consumer goods, and medical products.  QSBC can also be used as an excellent impact modifier or flexibilizer/toughener for clear polypropylene (PP).

QSBC maintains resiliency, even when quite thin, differentiating it from other functional materials in the market.  Utilizing QSBC as an alternative to other materials used to increasing product resilience could reduce weight of many end products.

Zeon believes manufacturers seeking to improve processability/workability will want to evaluate  QSBC, as it simplifies processing. Typically when blending a thermoplastic hard resin (for example, polystyrene/SEPS) with equal parts of a thermoplastic elastomer, it is necessary to pre-mix the materials before extruding. QSBC, on the other hand, can be added directly into the extruder with no pre-mixing, thereby eliminating a processing step, leading to lower energy costs.

Some potential applications may be:

  • QSBC alone:
    • High temperature pressure sensitive adhesive
    • High temperature resistant films and sheets
    • Molded parts
  • QSBC in blends or alloys with other thermoplastic elastomers:
    • Components for suspensions, engine mounts
    • Silentblocks for cars, motorcycles, scooters and mountain bikes
    • Automobile interior parts (imparts impact resistance to plastic parts)
    • Softener for ABS
    • Electronic equipment housing

 

Features and Benefits Summary

Figure 2: Comparison of TPE Properties
  • Greater flexibility than polyolefin elastomer
  • Simplified processing (can be put directly into extruder without premixing) thus saving energy.
  • Improved resilience & durability over SEPS
  • Stable up to 170°C with high moisture resistance.
  • Low VOC level, especially compared to SIS and polyolefin
  • Lower odor than SIS, polyurethane, and polyolefin
  • Dissolves readily in oil (comparable to traditional SEPS)
  • High moisture resistance
  • High resistance to alkali

 

Technology Readiness Level

Zeon’s QSBC is currently at the advanced product development stage. Zeon is seeking input from professionals in various markets on application requirements and fit.

 

Product Availability

This material is still under development, but small quantity samples are available. Additional information is available upon request.

 

Type of Partnerships Considered

Zeon is seeking compounders and end users interested in developing products using QSBC.

 

Company Overview

ZEON CORPORATION is a $3.3B, 3,300-person chemical company focused on specialty elastomers, polymers, and specialty chemicals founded in 1950.  The company produces a variety of products including high nitrile rubber that can be used in strong cements and adhesives, acrylonitrile butadiene copolymer latex, resins and other rubber additives.

 

Additional Technical Information

QSBC maintains its form and transparency at temperatures up to 170° C for 3 hours. Most other TPEs start to melt, deform or discolor.  Its low VOC and low odor characteristics are comparable to SEPS products on the market, and much lower than polyurethane olefins.

Figure 3: QSBC Heat Stability vs Other TPEs

 

As materials decompose they release VOCs and odors. So low VOC and low odor are one of the indicators that a material has high weather resistance. Furthermore, materials with low VOCs and low odors are desirable for use in the automotive (interior parts), medical and  adhesive industries. No odor is detected when QSBC is heated at 170°C for 30 minutes. No VOC components are detectable either. In comparison, conventional SIS, polyurethane and polyolefin begin to decompose and generator VOCs and odors during the same test, as illustrated in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Low VOCs as indicator of weather resistance.

 

Zeon QSBC has a Permanent Set of 11%, a value much lower than conventional SEPS, polyurethane and polyolefin and on par with conventional SIS. By controlling the microphase-separated structure, it is possible to achieve the same resilience (lower permanent set) as SIS even in a high stress region (higher modulus).

Figure 5: Comparison of Zeon’s Higher Modulus QSBC vs. other TPEs

 

QSBC shows improved or nearly comparable performance characteristics over many other TPEs.

Figure 6: Comparison of QSBC and TPEs