A new coextruded film provides ultraviolet and other
protection to vertical laminates used on exterior structures.
"The film brings optimal UV protection," says Michael
Golder, worldwide manager of high pressure laminate films for Evonik
Industries. "It absorbs more than 98 percent of the UV rays."
The base layer of the film, designated Europlex® HC 99716 Film, is 45 microns
of pure polymethyl methacrylate, a transparent thermoplastic also known as
acrylic. The top layer is polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a non-reactive and
pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer. The PVDF was added by Evonik to provide an
additional layer of protection. "Anti-graffitti properties come from the very
low surface tension of PVDF," says Golder. "Nothing sticks to it."
One of the key features of the film is its ability to
chemically adhere to melamine, a substrate that gives the laminate structural
strength. Special reactive components were added to the base resin so that it
would adhere to melamine. No adhesives are required.
Use of high-pressure laminates as a building façade has been
rapidly growing in Europe and Asia. Total
worldwide use is estimated at 2 million sq ft. One use is to protect a wooden
surface, or to simulate a wooden surface through use of a melaminic resin-impregnated
decoration paper. Golder says than an effort to market the material in North America will be launched in early 2010.
So far the focus is architectural faces. But Golder says
other applications may be coming. For example, horizontal coverings are
possible if scratch resistance of the panels can be improved. Price of the film
is approximately 34 cents per square foot (€3.50 per square meter).
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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