Wednesday 27 December 2023

Find Out About Plastics - My End-Of-The-Year Review 2023 and Outlook 2024

Happy New Year 2024! Herwig Juster & the team.

Hello and welcome to my end-of-the-year review 2023 and outlook for 2024.

2023 was a great year for our findoutaboutplastics blog: altogether 50 posts on various polymer engineering topics such as polymer material selection, high performance polymers (PARA and PPS), design properties for plastics professionals, bio-polyamides, sustainable materials, and three guest interviews were published. 

Also, every month the Pumping Plastics newsletter was sent out too and helped to stay in close exchange with our plastics community.

What were the top 5 most popular blog posts published this year?

1. Polyarylamide vs Polyamide (PARA vs PA): What are the Major Differences Between PARA and PA (Polymer Material Selection Tip)? 

2. Polymer Selection Funnel Example - Vacuum Cleaner Canister and Canister Holding (Example Electronics Consumer Goods)

3. Rule of Thumb - Residence Time and Temperature Profile of Engineering Polymers

4. Virgin vs. recycled glass-fiber PPS: How much can the carbon footprint be lowered?

5. Mass Balance Approach for Plastics (ISCC) - A Concise Overview

Outlook on 2024

In 2024, I will continue to present posts which evolve around 3 main categories:

- Polymer material selection examples 

- Design properties for engineers (incl. eco-design for sustainability in plastics) and Rules of Thumbs in polymer engineering

- Reviewing high performance polymers such as PolyArylAmide (PARA) and also high performance polymer blends.

Also, I started working on the Pumping Plastics 2023 book (paperback) and below you can already see the book front cover. 

Pumping Plastics 2023 - book cover preview

Check out the Pumping Plastics book from 2022 here

Furthermore, I invite you all to leave topics you would like to read about in 2024 in the comment box below or leave me a short message here. Also if you have interest in a guest interview, pls. send me a message here.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all readers of my posts!!!

I hope to welcome you again next year.

I wish you happy holidays and a very happy New Year 2024!

Thanks and #findoutaboutplastics


Herwig Juster

Interested in our material solutions - check out our product page here

Interested to talk with me about your polymer material selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

Friday 15 December 2023

Guest Interview: Michaela Schopp - Product Manager at Henze BNP AG: "Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) can offer a fluorine- and micro plastic-free replacement for the filler PTFE"

Hello everyone and welcome to this guest interview. Today I present to you Michaela Schopp who is product manager at Henze BNP AG, which offers tailor-made product solutions made from hexagonal boron nitride.

In this guest interview we have the chance to learn about hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) powders which can be used to make thermally conductive plastic compounds with electrical insulation, as well as offering an alternative to PTFE for lubrication materials. 

Thanks also to Fabio Daidone, who helped arranging this great exchange!

Enjoy the interview!

Guest Interview with Michaela Schopp from company Henze BNP AG on Boron Nitride fillers for plastics.

1) Tell us about yourself, your current role, and your product offering for the plastics compounding industry.

My name is Michaela Schopp and since February 2020 I am Product Manager at Henze BNP AG, responsible for especially boron nitride (BN) as fillers in plastics.

Henze BNP AG offers a wide range of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) powders for the plastics industry. We have more than 20 powders in our HeBoFill® range, which can be chosen individually for the customers applications.

The choice of powder depends on customer requirement and focus on thermal conductivity, electrical insulation, lubrication or weight reduction due to low density.

2) Let us start with boron nitride for thermally conductive plastics - what is the main working mechanism of such an additive and what are the advantages?

Boron nitride is a remarkable additive for plastics; due to its enormously high intrinsic thermal conductivity, the thermal conductivity of a plastic can easily be increased many times. The special feature compared to other fillers is unique as no other electrically insulating filler has such a high thermal conductivity and is so "soft" at the same time. Most electrically insulating fillers are very abrasive and also significantly heavier than hBN. This is particularly important in industries where thermal management plays a central role, such as in electronics or the automotive industry.

In addition, hBN offers the advantage that it can be dyed as a filler (base color is white) and can basically be incorporated into any plastic, as it is chemically inert.

In general, the overall system can stand out with a beautiful, smooth surface and can have a positive influence on the hardness and resulting in other positive properties.

Henze BNP offers within the HeBoFill® range the HeBoFill® COOL LINE, which is considered the ideal filler for increasing thermal conductivity and  is absolutely pre-destined for these application scenarios.

3) A current challenge in the plastics industry is the search for PTFE alternatives (triggered by the EU regulation 2019/1021) for friction and wear applications such as polymer bearings and power-train components. How can your boron nitride powder help here?

If you look at the property profiles of PTFE, the specialties are its lubricating properties, non-flammability/temperature resistance and often its density. The filler is also characterized by its electrical insulation properties. All these important functions match those of hBN. In this case,  hBN can offer a fluorine- and micro plastic-free replacement for the filler PTFE. 
There are indeed studies in which the lubricating properties of various lubricating fillers, including PTFE, were examined, whereby hBN performed best. 

As the name already states, the HeBoFill® LUB LINE from Henze BNP stands for powder with very good lubricating properties, thanks to its crystal structure. One side effect is a significant increase in the lubricant‘s thermal conductivity. Here, too, the pure white colour of boron nitride powder scores points, as it gives the end product a high-quality appearance - first impressions count.

4) Apart from the modification of plastic compounds for thermal conductivity and low friction, where else boron nitride products are used?

Boron nitride products are mostly used in the form of additives, helping to make a process more durable and efficient. Typical applications are, for example, in the form of suspensions for the coating process - wherever it is hot and good separation is required.  hBN is also available in sintered form and machined into components, which are often used in the high-temperature range, such as furnace construction, PVD systems or sintering technology - it is particularly noticeable here that it is not a single property of hBN that determines whether it becomes the material of choice, rather the combination of at least two attributes that differ from other materials.

HENZE BNP specializes in producing, distributing and developing hexagonal boron nitride products and have become a preferred material for technically demanding applications and innovative industrial application fields.
Henze BNP has therefore created the HeBoSint®, HeBoFill®, HeBoCoat® and HeBoLub® product families.

5) Where can the readers find out more about you and your boron nitride powder offers?

The readers can visit our homepage or our social media sites, for example LinkedIn, to discover more about our different products and to receive regular updates about the company. Furthermore, we’ve launched the Henze Blog “Focused” where one can find more detailed information about Boron Nitride and its different applications.

That was the guest interview with Michaela Schopp from Henze BNP AG – thank you Michaela and the whole team the exchange on how hexagonal boron nitride can be used for plastic compounds in different areas, especially for thermally conductive materials with electric insulation, as well as an alternative to PTFE. 

Thanks for reading!

Greetings and #findoutaboutplastics
Herwig Juster

Tuesday 12 December 2023

PA6.6 vs. PARA - Reducing the Wall Thickness of Injection Moulded Parts (Geometry Optimization Example)

Hello and welcome to this blog post. Today we discuss the wall thickness optimization of an injection moulded part which is exposed to deflection load and is made out of Polyamide 6.6 with 50 wt% glass fiber reinforcement. We will replace the PA 6.6. with a glass fiber reinforced PolyArylAmide (PARA; MXD6) and check how much we can reduce the wall thickness. Learn about the difference between aliphatic Polyamides and PARA here and the ABC's of PARA you can find here

Background of geometry optimization: wall thickness reduction

Basis of our calculation is the deflection (Y) equation of a beam with a uniform distributed load F where both ends of the beam are fixed (Figure 1). The current part made out of PA 6.6-GF 50wt% has a thickness of 3mm and the material has a Young’s modulus of 12.5 GPa (conditioned; Ultramid(R) A3WG10). The selected PARA has a Young’s modulus of 20 GPa (conditioned; Ixef 1022). Inserting the Young’s modulus of PA 6.6. and PARA, results that by using PARA the part stiffness will be 1.6 times higher compared to PA 6.6. 

Figure 1: calculation path for part geometry optimization with PARA-GF 50wt%.

Next we want to know how thin we can make the part by using a high modulus material such as PARA with 50 wt% glass fiber reinforcement and keeping the stiffness level. In order to calculate the wall thickness reduction, we need to rearrange the equation for the moment of inertia of a rectangular shape. By inserting 3 mm as current wall thickness, we will get 2.4 mm wall thickness when using PARA. This is a 20% reduction in wall thickness and will lead to less overall material consumption and reduced cooling time (more output). 


Geometry optimization with high performance polymers allows one to have a stiffer part, a part with reduced wall thickness, and by adding ribs, it is possible to have a stiffer part with reduced wall thickness. 

Thanks and #findoutaboutplastics


Herwig Juster

Interested in our material solutions - check out our product page here

Interested to talk with me about your polymer material selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.





Friday 1 December 2023

Global Warming Potential (GWP) Reduction of Engineering and High Heat Plastics - Example PPS and PBT

 Hello and welcome to this blog post. Today we discuss how we can reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of engineering thermoplastics with the focus on Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). Also we discuss how to reduce the GWP of Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) by applying a replacement strategy. In another post we discussed the PPS GWP reduction in more detail. 

Effective ways to reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of thermoplastics

One way is to replace a high GWP polymer by a lower GWP one, and have at the same time a cost benefit as well as no reduction in performance. An example of this is the suggestion of material manufacturer Polyplastics to replace PPS components in the EV battery cooling system by low-cost long-glass fiber PP or POM [5]. PP has a GWP of 1.63 kg CO2 eq and POM has a GWP of 3.2 kg CO2 eq. Those are much lower compared to PPS with 5.46 kg CO2 eq or even higher in some cases. Reason which makes this change possible is that long-life coolants (LLC) for cooling batteries in EVs is maxim 100°C and for most time between 60 to 80°C, allowing PP and POM to take over this job. In this example we have a cost, and lower GWP advantage and keeping the needed performance. In addition, if one would like to keep the PPS and still lower the Carbon footprint, an effective way is to use recycled glass fibers. In detail we discussed this approach here

Another way to reduce the GWP of an existing polymer is to use recycling methods. This approach we discuss next. 

Using PET-bottles to reduce GWP of PBT 

It is possible to exchange fossil based raw material by post-consumer (PCR) PET bottle waste as feedstock in order to reduce the GWP of PBT. In our example, 60 wt% PCR PET bottles were up-cycled to a higher engineering PET which shows almost the same properties as a PBT resin based on 100% fossil feedstock. The carbon footprint could be reduced by 49% compared to the fossil based PBT.  Table 1 compares the properties of the standard PBT and low GWP PBT and Figure 1 shows the GWP reduction achieved with this up-cycled product. 

Figure 1: comparing the cradle-to-gate CO2 footprint of PBT and low-GWP PBT [1].

Table 1: Overview properties of PBT and low-GWP PBT [1].

Properties PBT (Valox) PBT low GWP (Valox iQ)
Tensile strength at yield (MPa) 54 50
Flexural stress at 5% strain (MPa) 85 82
Flexural modulus (MPa) 2500 2460
Notched Izod, 23°C (J/m) 35 35
Specific gravity 1.31 1.31
Tc (°C) 164 170
Tm (°C) 225 220
HDT, 0.45 MPa (°C) 155 150


Considering the GWP during your material selection journey is becoming more and more easier since material manufacturers start to up-cycle and recycle their products. Also, based on requirements, new low GWP and low cost materials can be used for traditional engineering and high performance polymer applications. 

Thanks and #findoutaboutplastics


Herwig Juster

Interested in our material solutions - check out our product page here

Interested to talk with me about your polymer material selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.