R&P Polyplastic, a Russia-based manufacturer of compound materials, has developed and is commercialising a new type of compound for exterior car part applications based on the Tuball graphene nanotubes produced by nanotechnology company OCSiAl.
The company’s latest development is a nanomodified glass-filled polyamide 6.6, sold under the brand name Armamid. According to the company, incorporating graphene nanotubes into the material improves the anti-friction and anti-wear performance of coatings, while retaining its strength properties.
It also simplifies the electrostatic painting process: introducing as little as 0.15 wt.% of Tuball Matrix 826 (a concentrate of graphene nanotubes) into the polyamide causes the material to become electrically conductive, raising the insulation resistivity rises from 106 to the 108 Ω cm required by the industry standards.
“This allows us to paint plastic parts without using a separate line,” said Alexandr Zimnyakov, OCSiAl Vice President for Sales in Russia and the CIS. This not only significantly reduces production costs, the technology is more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Moreover: “Nanomodification of polyamide ensures a constant resistivity level and does not have an adverse effect on the material’s durability,” added Zimnyakov.
Preproduction testing of an electrostatically painted car fender made of a conductive polymer is scheduled to commence in 2020.
Currently, Polyplastic is also working on the development of technologies that will see the use of graphene tubes with polymers including polyethylene, polypropylene and ABS. Nanomodified polypropylenes for lightweighting electric vehicle components are another focus area.
The future of many industries may be associated with nanotube-modified materials, Mikhail Katsevman, R&D Director at Polyplastic noted, and “R&P Polyplastic has the necessary research and production potential to achieve that.”