Three grades of EcoPaXX® polyamide 410 from DSM have been given the “Certified Biobased Product” label awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grades of this high performance engineering thermoplastic have a proven bio-based content of around 70%. This is because the polymer incorporates building blocks derived from castor oil obtained from plants that grow in tropical regions and which are not used for food products.
The 70% bio-based figure is far above the minimum level for certification set by the USDA in a program that is founded to promote the increased purchase and use of biobased products. EcoPaXX grades 150MS, Q-HG6 and Q-HGM24, which are unfilled, 30% glass fiber reinforced, and glass/mineral reinforced respectively, were tested at an ASTM (D6866) accredited test facility.
The certification program is based on the determination of the content of biogenic (biorenewable/ biobased) carbon in comparison with the carbon originating from fossil sources such as oil and coal. The ASTM D6866 test method is based on radiocarbon analysis, which reveals the percentage of carbon-14 (14C) atoms in the sample. Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon, and so decays over time. The amount of 14C in a carbon product can be used to identify its age.
EcoPaXX has also been shown to be 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate, which means that the carbon dioxide which is generated during the production process of the polymer is fully compensated by the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed in the growth phase of the castor beans.
The EcoPaXX products now appear in the USDA’s “Biopreferred Catalog” (viewable at www.biopreferred.gov). “This certification is strictly a U.S. governmental initiative, but customers in all global regions might benefit from it in their material selection and approval processes,” says Wim Koetsier, Product Stewardship Program Manager at DSM. EcoPaXX grades are suitable for a wide variety of applications, spanning household equipment, automotive structural parts, engine covers and cooling circuits, connectors, circuit breakers, and switch bodies.
Source: DSM Engineering Plastics, press release, 2012-11-16.