Posts Tagged ‘plasticizer’

A Greener PVC?

February 8, 2010

It’s not quite alternative energy but making PVC (aka ‘vinyl’, ‘polyvinyl chloride’) plastic more environmentally benign should be big news to anyone interested in greener energy or materials.

Because it’s versatile and inexpensive, PVC is used in a great variety of end uses, from plastic sewer pipe and siding for your house, to shower curtains, blood transfusion bags, and automobile upholstery. PVC, however, has a bad reputation in health / safety / environmental quarters – largely because of phthalate plasticizers, which manufacturers add to the excessively brittle PVC to make it stronger, softer and more flexible.

The problem is that, over time, many conventional plasticizers migrate out of the PVC article and into the environment. Fugitive plasticizers are a big component of that ‘new car smell’ or the unmistakable odor of a new shower curtain – and the major reason environmentalists don’t like PVC.

Now, the Institute of Polymer Science and Technlogy in Madrid has discovered a way to permanently lock-in the plasticizer, by making it an integral part of the PVC polymer molecule. If the discovery proves practical and economic, look for revolutionary changes in large segments of the plastics and chemical industries.

Here’s the citation:
Rodrigo Navarro, Mnica Prez Perrino, Myriam Gmez Tardajos and Helmut Reinecke*
Institute of Polymer Science and Technology (ICTP-CSIC), Juan de la Cierva 3, E-28006 Madrid, Spain
DOI: 10.1021/ma902740t
Publication Date (Web): January 21, 2010