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What are plastic additives? 8 most common plastic additives in plastic industry

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Plastic additives are vital substances added to plastic manufacturing to reinforce particular properties of end-products. Depending on expected products’ properties, corresponding plastic additives will be taken to significantly boost the overall quality. In this article, let’s discover top 8 most common plastic additives in the plastic industry.

As end-users’ demands are getting more and more complex and diverse, it is extremely challenging for manufacturers to deliver products that not only meet technical standards, but also have added functionalities. This has driven the use of plastic additives, which considerably enhance products’ characteristics with just a small amount of loading rate. So, what exactly are they made of and which are the most widely-used plastic additives?

1. What are plastic additives and how they benefit the plastic industry?

Plastic additives are a common type of organic/inorganic substance added during plastic processing to improve specific properties of the original resins such as rigidity, flexibility, durability, conductivity, brightness, color,…Unlike filler masterbatch, the loading rate of plastic additives is approximately 1% of total volume. However, it plays an indispensable part in delivering expected properties for end products. 

Depending on end-products’ requirements, plastic enterprises will take appropriate additives. For example, outdoor plastic furnitures are normally exposed to harsh weather conditions for a long period, thus they need anti-aging and weather stabilizer additives to improve the endurability as well as minimizing the degradation of plastic surface resulted from negative environmental impacts. For agricultural mulch, anti-fog additives and brightening additives are the indispensable factors to remain high transparency of the film, thus streamlining the plant’s photosynthesis process.

Not only do plastic additives benefit end-products, they also increase the efficiency of plastic processing. By adding these materials during the extrusion or injection molding process, plastic additives prevent plastic layers from sticking to each other or to extrusion heads, thus driving productivity and efficiency.

Generally, plastic additives may cost more than the raw polymer, they offer outstanding advantages for end-products though. Imagining two rice cookers which are equivalent regarding size, color and functionalities. However, the more expensive one is added specific plastic additives, which make it better durable and impact resistant (thanks to impact modifier), safer (thanks to antistatic additives which minimize electric molecules’ activities on the plastic surface) and fire resistant (thanks to flame retardants). In the end, it is more cost-effective than the raw polymer one. 

Related: Top 5 largest plastic additives companies in Vietnam [Update 2021]

2. Common plastic additives and their applications

Increasing demands for various properties and functionalities have paved the way for the development of multiple plastic additives, which are divided into two groups based on their benefits:

  • Functionalities addition: Including additives that provide orginal plastic with one or more properties added.
  • Processing aids: Including additives applied into plastic procedures to drive the efficiency of the production.

Both of groups will be discussed with these typical representatives below

Anti-UV plastic additives

Anti-UV plastic additive

Also known as UV Stabilizer, this additive is one of the most important components of outdoors products for its outstanding benefits in preventing UV rays from degrading plastic surfaces. As polymer is highly sensitive to sunlight, it easily gets discoloration, mechanical transformation and cracks as a result of the sun’s negative impacts. Anti-UV plastic additive acts as a protective film which absorbs UV light and keeps these harmful factors away from plastic products. 

Applications:

Anti-UV additives are specially applied in the automotive industry for furniture and exterior car parts as they are normally exposed to sunlight. Besides, it is also used in HDPE injection molding, LDPE/LLDPE blown film, PP/HDPE tape, PP raffia and wood plastic composite products (agricultural mulch, greenhouse film, tarpaulin, stadium seats,…).

Brightening plastic additives

Brightening plastic additive

Optical brightener additive is used to mask the inherent yellowness of plastic and replace it with a brighter look by increasing the overall amount of blue light reflected. In addition, this material also offers end-products better glossiness and higher smoothness. 

Applications:

  • Packaging films: food packaging film, shopping bags,…
  • Single-used products such as cutleries, glass, food containers,…
  • Household appliances that require attractive appearance.

Clarifying plastic additives

Clarifying plastic additive

Upon thermoforming plastic manufacturing, there are structures named spherulites. They are composed of highly ordered lamellae resulting in higher density and hardness, thus decreasing plastic’s transparency and aesthetic. Thereby, the clarifying plastic additive is applied into the processing phase to prevent the size of spherulites, which improves the clarity of plastic product.

Applications:

Clarifying plastic additive is widely used in injection molding such as houseware, food storage containers, and caps and closure, blown film, extruding sheets,…Also, it can be applied in various resins including PP, HDPE, HDPE / PP, LLDPE / PP.

Antistatic plastic additives 

Antistatic plastic additive

Also known as flame retardant, antistatic plastic additive is one of the most important components in many plastic products. Thanks to this material, plastic’s insulating ability is significantly enhanced. Also, the spark discharges together with accumulation of surface dust is eliminated, making plastic processing more efficiently.

Applications:

  • In automotive: For fuel systems, electrical and electronic parts, and engine components.
  • In electronics: for electronic goods such as computers, printers, photocopiers and other office equipment,…
  • In Packaging: packing of food, drugs, medical supplies,..

Related: Common types of halogen-free flame additives

Anti-aging plastic additives

anti aging additive

After a long period of usage, plastic products easily get negatively impacted by environmental effects such as oxygen, UV light,… Therefore, anti-aging additive is used to prevent polymer degradation (loss mechanical properties, flexibility, discoloration, cracking) due to external effects in processing and daily use.

Applications:

Anti-aging additive is widely used in various technologies such as injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming,…Particularly, outdoor plastic products including tarpaulin, slide, wooden plastic composite products (wall, floor, ceiling,…)

Anti-fog plastic additives

antifog additive

Anti-fog additive is widely applied in both agriculture and food industry to prevent the condensation of water on the surface of a clear plastic film to make it more transparent, thus improving the using effectiveness.

Applications:

  • In packaging: food containers, food packaging film, rolled bags,…
  • In agriculture: agricultural mulch, greenhouse film,…

Anti-blocking plastic additives

Anti-blocking plastic additive

A common phenomenon in plastic processing, especially in blown film is the adhesion of adjacent layers, which reduces the productivity as well as products’ quality. Anti-blocking additive works by creating a micro-rough surface minimizing the direct contact between film layers, thus streamlining the process of plastic and improving production efficiency. It is able to work effectively even under high temperature, pressure and during long processing periods. 

Applications

Anti-blocking plastic additive is widely applied in packaging film manufacturing such as PE film, CPP, BOPP film and extrusion industry.

Related: Anti-blocking: What you need to know?

Processing aid plastic additives

Processing aid plastic additive

Unexpected phenomenon during plastic processing, especially in extrusion has struggled enterprises as well as considerably reduced their productivity, which drives the use of processing aid additive. This material acts in the two main ways. After being added into the molding process, it melts and forms a liquid around color particles to boost the mixing phase. Also, processing aid assists in better individual polymer particle adhesion inside the tube, thus making them melt quicker. That means plastic enterprises can save a significant amount of energy consumed, leading to productivity enhancement.

Applications:

Processing aid plastic additive benefits many manufacturing technologies such as blown film, fiber extrusion, mesh, weaving making, plastic pipe extrusion,…

As such, the application of plastic additive has significantly enhanced the efficiency of plastic enterprises. Depending on products’ requirements, an appropriate amount of additives will be added to manufacturing process.

3. EuroPlas plastic additive

With nearly 14 years of experience, EuroPlas has marked its name as one of the leading filler masterbatch manufacturers in the world. Following that achievement, EuroPlas plastic additive has been carefully researched and developed to exactly meet customers’ demands. We are currently providing a wide range of additives with a view to providing customers with more and more optimal production solutions such as: Anti-UV additives, anti-fog additives, anti-aging additives,…

For more information and consultation, contact us HERE!

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