Bac2 (Southampton, U.K.), a polymer innovation company, reports that The Society of Plastics Engineers' (SPE, Troy, Mich., USA) Thermoset TOPCON 2012 conference made the Best Technical Presentation Award to Bac2's technical director, Dr. Graham Murray. At the recent event in San Antonio, Texas, USA, Murray demonstrated how low fire, smoke and toxicity sheet molding compounds (SMC) and bulk molding compounds (BMC) can be produced more economically using phenolic resins activated using a novel latent catalyst, dubbed CSR.
The process can be used in the manufacture of electronics and electrical packaging, electrical insulation, interior fittings for transportation, stadia seating, and other products.
Most SMCs are polyester based due to the low cost and processability of the resins. Despite their superior fire properties, phenolic resole-based SMC products are not commonplace due to the material's poor storage and processing characteristics. Bac2's CSR latent acid catalysts reportedly enable the cost-effective production of resole-based SMC with low fire, smoke and toxicity values. The latent catalyst allows storage-stable molding compounds to be produced containing highly reactive phenolic resole-based polymer binders. The catalysts enable phenolic SMC to be formed into rolls that thicken after a few days, without the need for additives, to a consistency that allows easy cutting, stripping and molding of a range of glass fiber composite parts. The rolls can be stored at ambient temperature for up to two months. It has recently been found that the CSR latent catalysts work equally as well with bio-based furan resins.
Mechanical and fire properties are said to be good for the newly developed phenolic molded parts. In order to demonstrate to the composite industry that a phenolic option for storage stable SMC is available and can produce mechanically strong, fire safe products for many applications, a video demonstration is available at tinyurl.com/phenolic-SMC.