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

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