A research project has boosted the quality of recycled PET when used in foam, potentially opening the door to new applications for the recovered plastic.
Nexam Chemical recently announced the completion of the two-year rPET project. The aim of the project was to upgrade rPET through heat-activated crosslinking for lightweight applications. The main product is an rPET foam with improved mechanical properties.
“These results create new opportunities for material and cost savings for existing applications where similar performance can be achieved with less material,” according to a press release. “Furthermore, the competitiveness of rPET foam for other applications, where today more expensive materials are used, is increased.”
Nexam Chemical, a company based in Sweden, specializes in applying its technology to the crosslinking of polymers, boosting their strength so the plastics can replace metals in products. The technology also allows for lightweighting of plastic items. Nexam Chemical’s crosslinking powder additives are manufactured in Scotland at its own location and at other companies’ factories under contract.
Half of the funding for the rPET project came from the Swedish innovation agency, called Vinnova. The agency provided 2.86 million Swedish Krona (about $310,000) to the effort.
Through the project, the company has been able to develop a product that’s already far into commercialization, Dane Momcilovic, the company’s chief technology officer, stated in the press release.
“The collaboration was very stimulating and we have gained much new knowledge on materials, manufacturing and market,” he said.