What Is Plasticizer and Its Usages?

A plasticizer is a low-volatility solid or liquid that is added to a raw polymer, such as a kind of plastic or rubber, to increase its flexibility, make it simpler to shape and mold, and lessen friction on its surface. They function as a buffer between the individual molecule segments when they are introduced to a polymer, working their way into the polymer chains.

Where Are Plasticizers Used?

Over 8 million tons of plasticizers are utilized annually, with polyvinyl chloride receiving the majority of these additions (PVC). Let's take a minute to consider PVC. It may be a hard, stiff, brittle material that is used in sewer and water pipes, but it is also used to produce cable covers, flexible tubes, and shower curtains. PVC would continue to exist in its hard, inflexible state if the plasticizers—most frequently phthalates and fatty acid esters—were not present.

Flexible polyvinyl chloride, popularly known as vinyl, is produced using around 90% of all plasticizers. Flexible PVC is primarily used in roofing membranes, automotive applications, flooring and wall coverings, medical equipment, electrical cable, and wire insulation, as well as in many other industries. Some plasticizers can also be found in professional-grade rubber products, adhesives, printing inks, paints, and sealants. Plasticizer usage is absolutely prohibited in all applications.

Ester and petroleum oils are the two main forms of plasticizers used with elastomers. In general, ester plasticizers provide polar elastomers processing benefits, whereas petroleum oils are helpful with nonpolar elastomers. Petroleum oils, sometimes known as extender oils, can also be classified as aromatic, paraffinic, or naphthenic.

Since the construction industry uses a significant number of tools and materials, its rise has increased the need for plasticizers on a global scale. The majority of these products are made of PVC, which in turn raises the demand for plasticizers.

Dioctyl phthalate, diisononyl phthalate, dioctyl terephthalate, and dibutyl phthalate are required for softness in the manufacturing of PVC. Additionally, PVC materials' improved resistance to heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation has led to an increase in their use in the construction sector.

What Are Renewable Plasticizers?

Plasticizers frequently make up several percent of plastic components, making the switch to renewable plasticizers appealing. High amounts of renewable plasticizers enable getting a sizable amount of renewable material in some circumstances, such as plastisol. The SPI Bioplastics Council estimates that there is a 6 million tons global market for plasticizers.

Superplasticizers Vs Plasticizers

High-range water reducers, commonly referred to as superplasticizers (SPs), are additives used in the production of high-strength concrete. Chemical substances known as plasticizers make it possible to produce concrete with around 15% less water. Superplasticizers provide a water content decrease of at least 30%.

Such additives are used at a few percent by weight level. Concrete's cure is delayed by plasticizers and superplasticizers. Superplasticizers may generally be divided into four categories: mixed functionality synthetic polymers for cementitious materials, sulfonated synthetic polymers, carboxylate synthetic polymers, and purified lignosulfonates.

Source: P&S Intelligence

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