Apex (R) 80853F insulation compound, introduced just two months ago by Teknor Apex, has become the first lead stabilizer-free vinyl product to achieve Underwriters Laboratories listing for continuous service at 90 deg. C in wet locations in wire designated in the National Electrical Code (NEC) as THWN-2, it was announced today by Donald G. Ouellette, industry manager for Teknor Apex’s Vinyl Division

“Although manufacturers of conventional wire and cable compounds have used lead stabilizers to ensure retention of electrical properties, our new Apex compound provides insulation so effective that it actually replaces lead-containing formulations,” Ouellette said.

Lead-based heat stabilizers provide PVC polymer with high resistance to thermal degradation, which can compromise electrical performance. Yet while most insulators based on standard lead-containing vinyl compounds are restricted for use only with black formulations and in wire above a certain minimum gauge, the new Apex 80853F compound is unrestricted as to color or gauge.

“To our knowledge, Apex 80853F is the only no-lead vinyl compound rated for wet-location use at 90 deg. C continuous service available from any supplier, whether merchant or captive compounder,” Ouellette said. “Since the typical THWN application presents the worst-case scenario in that its vinyl insulation is thinnest, the outstanding electrical properties of this new compound make it suitable for a wide range of other uses as well.”

THWN-2 wire is nylon-jacketed, vinyl-insulated building wire used in industrial-equipment applications such as control wires for motors. Other wet-location uses anticipated for
the new compound include machine-tool wiring (MTW), appliance wire (AWM), and outdoor flexible cord (STW), according to Ouellette.

Teknor Apex received the 90 deg. C listing for Apex 80853F from UL only months after the compound was listed for continuous service at 75 and 105 deg. C in wet and dry locations, respectively. The development of the new compound is only the latest achievement in a longtime program at Teknor Apex to eliminate lead-containing additives from its compounds, according to Ouellette. “A wide range of our wire and cable products are now free of lead stabilizer yet provide electrical properties as good as or better than the compounds that they have replaced.”

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