Chemistry that combines PVC and thermoplastic elastomers has yielded a new series of vinyl wire and cable jacketing compounds that perform better than conventional vinyl at very low temperatures, avoiding loss of physical properties caused by plasticizer volatilization or migration, it was announced today by Teknor Apex Company, which will introduce the compounds at IWCS/Focus (Booths 219 & 221).

Tradenamed FreeFlex, the new compounds are the first plasticizer-free vinyl compounds for wire and cable, according to Mike Patel, industry manager for the Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex.

“FreeFlex products withstand harsh winter conditions without embrittlement and surpass conventional vinyl in retaining their original mechanical properties after prolonged use,” said Patel. “While standard vinyl typically loses some of the plasticizer additive that is used to render it flexible, our new FreeFlex compounds derive their flexibility from elastomeric ingredients that are permanently alloyed with PVC.”

Teknor Apex is introducing five FreeFlex grades with Shore C hardnesses ranging from 89 to 92 and brittle points from -26 to -56 deg. C. Potential jacketing uses include cables for harsh outdoor environments, military-specification coaxial cables, tray cables, and industrial cables. Highly flame-resistant, low-smoke formulations can also be provided for custom applications such as indoor/outdoor data cables.

FreeFlex (TM) Products Are the Fruits of a Major Compounding Innovation

The technology underlying new FreeFlex compounds involves 1) use of high-performance new- generation elastomers that typically are immiscible with PVC, and 2) development of proprietary compatibilizer chemistry enabling Teknor Apex to alloy them with PVC.

“In comparison with plasticizer additives, our elastomeric alloy components make possible greater retention of elongation upon heat aging, greater resistance to embrittlement at very low temperatures, improved electrical properties as reflected by a lower dielectric constant, and enhanced chemical resistance,” said Maryellen Cox, Vinyl Division technical manager. “We intend to develop other compounds that benefit wire and cable manufacturers because of our plasticizer-free technology.”

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