The PVC value chain is constantly engaged in the research and development of new formulations which can provide more efficient, safer, and circular cables.
Increased fire performance
New formulations for PVC cables are currently under development to further improve their performance in fires. For instance, by incorporating specific fire-retardant additives into the PVC formulation, manufacturers can significantly enhance the material's resistance to ignition and flame spread. Innovative PVC resins are also being tested. Further, research into the optimal combination of plasticizers and other components has led to improved formulations.
PVC4Cables and its partners are actively working with universities to leverage the knowledge of students. For instance, a recent master thesis uses data by PVC4Cables partners to compare EN 60754-1 and EN 60754-2 with regards to smoke acidity values.
Another example can be seen in the video below:
Non-fossil-based PVC resin and additives represent an emerging area of interest, driven by the growing demand for more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. These resins and additives can potentially lead to reduced carbon footprint, improved mechanical properties, enhanced thermal stability, better fire performance and cost savings.
Discover a concrete example of the European PVC cable value chain’s research into bio-based solutions in the video below:
The potential of nanotechnologies
Nanotechnologies represent an interesting perspective for the development and use of efficient functional additives in polymers:
Improved mechanical properties
Nanoparticles can increase the tensile strength of PVC, making the cables more robust. Certain nano-additives can enhance the flexibility of PVC without compromising its strength.
Improved processing conditions
Nano-additives can change the melt flow properties of PVC, widening the processing conditions and making manufacturing more efficient. They can also react with the polymer during extrusion, preventing degradation and extending the cable's lifespan. Further, nanoparticles can enhance and tune the efficacy of other additives, reducing the amount needed for desired effects like reinforcement or thermal stabilization.
Enhanced thermal stability and controlled HCl evolution
Nanotechnology can improve the thermal stability of PVC, allowing it to withstand higher temperatures without degrading. This is vital for cables that may be exposed to high heat. It can also help control the release of hydrochloric acid (HCl) during degradation.
Environmental benefits and cost savings
The widespread and distributed interactions of nanoparticles with the PVC matrix can promote improved durability. Further, the ability to achieve desired properties with a limited amount of additives (even down to 0.3 phr) can lead to cost savings in material usage.