Nouryon launches Expancel HP92 microspheres to reduce weight and withstand high pressure in underbody coatings and sealants
Nouryon has introduced HP92 microspheres, a new innovation in thermoplastic microsphere fillers in high-pressure manufacturing processes for the automotive industry. Lightweight materials are in high demand from automotive manufacturers to meet increasingly strict emission regulations and strong consumer interest in fuel-efficient vehicles that do not compromise on performance or passenger comfort.
Expancel microspheres consist of a polymer shell that encapsulates a gas. When heated, the gas expands, allowing the microspheres to be used as a lightweight filler and blowing agent to make end products lighter and obtain different surface effects. They also reduce costs and environmental impacts by requiring less raw material and reducing weight.
Underbody coating and seam sealant are essential in reducing noise and protecting the vehicle underbody against environmental influences. During storage, pumping, and spray application processes up to 350 bar (5076 psi) of pressure can occur. Current thermoplastic microsphere fillers fail during these conditions, resulting in increased density and poor surface finish.
The new Expancel HP92 microsphere’s exceptional stability allows for more than 4 times better recovery to its original shape after pressurization than a legacy microsphere, even in DINP (Diisononyl phthalate).
When used in underbody coatings and sealants, Expancel HP92 microspheres allow our customers in the automotive industry to use high-pressure application processes on surfaces with up to four times better volume recovery to its original shape after pressurization compared to an older grade of thermoplastic microsphere. Our technology is aimed at combining and optimizing the pressure resistance associated with glass microsphere grades with the light weight of thermoplastic microspheres fillers in one refined solution.—Sylvia Winkel Pettersson, Vice President Engineered Polymers at Nouryon
Expancel HP92 microspheres are currently produced in Stockvik, Sweden, with production expected in Green Bay, Wisconsin in early 2023, and will be available globally through the Nouryon distribution network.
Expancel microspheres have been produced for more than 40 years and are sold in more than 80 countries. Expancel HP92 microspheres were launched at the Automotive Lightweight Materials Europe 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany, last week.