ALPHARETTA, Ga., October 5, 2010 - Solvay Advanced Polymers' reformulated Ixef® BXT 2000-0203 polyarylamide (PARA) blow molding resin has been approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a barrier solution for three-layer fuel tank systems for lawnmowers, snow blowers, weed trimmers, generators, and other small off-road equipment. CARB executive order Q-08-025 states that OEMs can use the material without the need to undergo costly and lengthy tank permeation testing. Fuel tanks using this three-layer design have also been approved by EPA.
The company expects the material technology to be commercialized for the first time in a three-layer tank by a leading U.S. lawn and garden equipment supplier by the first quarter of 2011.
"This significant regulatory milestone positions Ixef resin as a new solution for OEMs who seek to reduce hydrocarbon emissions and meet CARB and EPA standards," said Duane Fish, technical marketing engineer for Solvay Advanced Polymers. Three-layer fuel tanks blow molded of HDPE and Ixef BXT 2000-0203 offer simplicity and reduced cost versus competing multilayer and fluorinated systems and also meet SAE J233 (minus 40°F cold impact test).
Ixef BXT 2000-0203 resin exceeds the current CARB TP901 standard, which limits fuel vapor emissions to 1.5 g/m²/day for small off-road engines, and the new EPA regulation for fuel CE10. The fuel-resistant barrier material also maintains its mechanical properties in new fuels such as bio-diesel and ethanol-based mixtures. It is also easier to process than the previous grade, offering a lower processing temperature, higher flow, and a wider processing window.
To meet barrier requirements, three-layer extrusion-blow molded tanks consisting of HDPE/Ixef/HDPE can be manufactured instead of coextruded five-layer HDPE/EVOH tanks. Three-layer HDPE/Ixef tanks afford processing simplicity, reduced equipment and tooling requirements, and lower cost compared to traditional five-layer HDPE/EVOH structures. They also offer better cold weather durability and cost less than monolayer solutions which contain more expensive barrier additives. HDPE/Ixef tanks are also less costly than fluorinated tanks which must be shipped back and forth to a treatment facility.
Unlike EVOH, which is limited to continuous-extrusion blow molding, Ixef BXT 2000-0203 can be run on both accumulator and continuous-extrusion machines. For blow molded HDPE/Ixef tanks, no purging is required and changeovers on both machines are quicker and less costly than with EVOH, according to Fish.
Solvay also noted that Ixef BXT 2000-0203 resin can be used as a barrier solution in two-layer structures with HDPE because it can withstand direct-fuel contact in applications such as fuel lines, filler pipes, low-permeation fuel hoses, and other fuel system components. Other different types of layered structures such as two-layer configurations are also being examined to meet specific product demands.
About Solvay Advanced Polymers
Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC produces more plastics with more performance than any other company in the world. This gives design engineers worldwide more ways to solve top design challenges in automotive, medical, electronics, aerospace and other demanding industries. Learn more at solvayadvancedpolymers.com.
Solvay is an international industrial Group active in Chemistry. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs 17,000 people in over 40 countries. In 2009, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.5 billion. Solvay is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR). Details are available at www.solvay.com.