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Anti Static Master Batches

Anti Static Master Batches

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Published by: ranganathan_sathishkumar on Aug 18, 2011
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01/18/2014

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Antistatic Masterbatches
 
Introduction:
By virtue of their insulating nature, polymers of all types allow static charge to build-up on theirsurfaces, particularly in the case of films and fibers, which have large surface area to volumeratio. Such static charge build-up leads to several undesirable consequences in the final product.For instance, built-up static charge can attract dust onto a food package, which is undesirableaesthetically. At times, static charge can damage circuit boards in electronics packaging and maycause hazards of fire or explosion in the vicinity of flammable materials.The static charge may also cause several processing problems such as difficulty in winding offilms or melt-spun fibers, agglomeration of powders during transport, adhesion of films duringprocessing, etc. Such undesirable effects of static charge build-up can be avoided by usingmasterbatches containing antistatic agents. The most commonly used are those compoundedinternally with the polymer and those applied topically.
Migratory Antistats:
The traditional internal antistats aremigratory in nature. Typically thesemigratory antistatic agents have ahydrophobic organic end and ahydrophilic end. The strongly polarhydrophilic end adsorbs watermolecules which eliminate staticcharges by ionic conduction. Thelong hydrocarbon chain lengthconstitutes the hydrophobic groupand controls the rate of diffusion(or migration) of the antistat to thesurface of the polymer product.There are three major classes of internal, migratory antistatic agents: esters, amines and amides.Glycerol mono-stearate is commonly used as an antistatic agent for PE and PP but is useful foronly short term antistatic performance of about 1-2 months. The amines and amides are usuallyethoxylated products and are more useful for long term antistatic performance. The amine typeantistats tend to react with polycarbonate, which is commonly used in making electronic circuitboards. Hence a plastic packaging containing amine antistat is detrimental to electronic circuitboards. The amine antistats have limited FDA approval. However, the amines are extremelyeffective as antistatic agents. The amides also have limited FDA approval but broader than theamine antistats. The esters, on the other hand, are FDA approved at any level of concentration.The performance of the migratory antistats depends on various factors such as:
 
1. Concentration: The higher the concentration of the antistat, the antistat migration is fasterand usually the performance is better.2. Relative humidity: All migratory antistats depend on water for functioning. Hence theantistatic performance is always better at higher humidity.3. Conditioning time: The migratory antistats diffuse through the polymer matrix and have tocome to the polymer surface in sufficient concentration to be effective. It requires time forthe antistats to achieve a monolayer surface coverage and to attain4. Equilibrium between the surface and the bulk concentration. Hence the antistaticperformance usually improves with conditioning time. In the case of LDPE & LLDPE, it isconsidered that two days of conditioning time is adequate to get a monolayer of surfacecoverage for all migratory antistats.5. Antistat chemistry: The size and the shape of an antistat molecule itself dictates its rate ofdiffusion through a given polymer matrix. Hence the rate of diffusion of the antistat isdependent on its chemistry. In addition, certain antistat chemistries tend to crystallize oncethey are on the film surface in sufficient concentration. It is believed that suchcrystallization of the antistat leads to loss of its antistatic properties. This process dependson the unique mixture of chainlengths in a given antistatic additive. Hence certain antistaticadditives lose their antistatic properties more quickly than others and are useful only as"short term antistats". All of the GMS chemistries are susceptible to such a process.6. Type of polymer: The polymer used for making films (or other extruded parts) has a majorinfluence on the diffusion of the antistatic additives. The crystallinity and the polarity of thepolymer are the key properties that influence the behavior of the antistatic additives. Apolymer with high crystallinity (such as HDPE or PP) creates a tortuous path for thediffusion of the antistat, thus retarding the rate of diffusion. In general, all migratoryantistats require a very long time to diffuse out of HDPE or PP homopolymer. Similarly, apolymer with polar groups (such as EVA, EMA, Surlyn, Nylon, PET) has chemicalinteractions (mainly hydrogen bonding) with the polar groups of the antistat molecule.Such interactions also decrease the rate of diffusion of the antistat.7. Presence of other additives: There are three types of influences from other additives onthe behavior of antistats. (1) If the other additives are also migratory, they compete withthe antistats for diffusion through the polymer matrix and also compete with the antistatsfor surface coverage. Slips are a common example of this type of additive, which mayexert adverse influence on antistatic properties. (2) Some additives tend to have chemicalinteractions with certain types of antistat chemistries. Amine and amide type antistats arebasic (alkaline) in nature, which may react with some acidic flame retardants, which canresult in reduction of antistatic properties. (3) Some antiblocks such as synthetic silica tendto adsorb antistatic additives on their surface, due to their high surface area. Suchadsorption will also retard or prevent the migration of the antistats to the surface of a film.8. Corona treatment: The treatment of a film surface with corona discharge results inoxidation or 'burning' of the surface layer of the film. Such corona treatment usuallyaccelerates the migration of the antistats to that side, by increasing the concentrationgradient and also by making that surface more polar.9. Lamination: It is very common in the polyolefins industry to laminate antistatic films bymeans of adhesive lamination. The most commonly used adhesives are polar chemicals,which attract antistatic additives and interact with them. Once the antistatic additivesmigrate from the sealant PE side to the adhesive layers, they usually do not come out andantistatic properties on the PE side are lost forever. In some cases, extrusion lamination iscarried out by high temp. processing and cross-linking of the PE layer to a polar substratesuch as nylon or PET. These polar substrates also attract antistatic additives which resultsultimately in loss of antistatic performance in the PE layer.10. Winding tension: The rate of diffusion of an antistat in a film wound on a roll is much
 
slower than an unwound film. The unwound film offers a large surface for the antistat todiffuse and such surface area is not available on a tightly wound roll. Hence the higher thewinding tension, the slower the antistat diffusion.11.
Gauge of film: Higher gauge or thicker films will require more time to achieveequilibrium between the surface and the bulk concentration of the antistat. Butthicker films also have more mass of an antistat than thinner films. Therefore,thicker films usually require slightly lower quantity of an antistatic additive thanthinner films, to achieve the same antistatic performance. However, among all thefactors listed above, the gauge of a film seems to exert the least influence on theantistatic properties.
Non-Migratory Antistats:
Recently Ampacet has developedunique, nontraditional antistaticproducts based on a nonmigratoryantistat which have been designed foruse only in skin layers of multilayerfilms. These are clear products basedon polymeric antistatic chemistry,which does not depend onatmospheric humidity for functioning.The antistatic additive forms aninterconnecting or percolating network(similar to conductive carbon black)and dissipation of the static.
 
Percolating Network
Charge occurs by an ionic conduction mechanism. As a result, much higher loadings of thisproduct are required, as compared to the traditional migratory antistats, to achieve good antistaticperformance. Hence these products are recommended to be used only in skin layers of multilayerfilms.The major benefits of non-migratory antistatic masterbatches are as follows:
No conditioning required .. the antistatic properties obtained immediately off-line
Useful in multilayer films, which require no migration to the other side.
No migration into adhesive layer or nylon/PET layer in case of laminated films.
No adverse effect on heat sealing and printing (in contrast with migratory antistats)
Antistat properties last theoretically for the life of the film.
Used only in a skin layer for a multilayer film (not needed in the core, like migratory additives).
Clear product
Able to meet NFPA-99 and Mil-B-81705C criteria.
High thermal stability hence can be used in blown and cast films

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