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New Products: Kuraray shines light on elastomer advances

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FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany—At this year's Fakuma expo, polymer and chemicals maker Kuraray showed off two developments within its advanced elastomers portfolio.

In particular, the Japanese company used the event, held Oct. 16-20 in Friedrichshafen, to introduce Kurarity a new range of acrylic-based block copolymers for optical waveguide applications and polymer modification. Kuraray said its anionic living polymerization technology combines various acrylic monomers into AB- or ABA-type block-copolymers—based on polymethylmethacrylate hard-blocks and an acrylic-based soft-block.

The controlled process enables Kurarity to remain "exceptionally clean" with minimal residual monomer or oligomer when compared to conventional acrylic polymers produced using radical polymerization.

Due to their purity, the new acrlyic-based block copolymers are highly flexible and transmit optical waves over long distances

The purity of the thermoplastic acrylic elastomer is said to ensure enhanced levels of clarity and elasticity, making it suitable for optical-waveguide applications for vehicles, airplanes, and buildings.

Other attributes include high-gloss, weather-resistance, and compatibility with polar materials, with Kuraray also seeing end-uses in adhesives, moldings and plastics modification.

At the German show, Kuraray also provided updates about its Hybrar elastic triblock copolymer materials, said to feature optimum vibration-damping and shock-absorbing properties—without the need for plasticisers in production.

With a maximal loss factor close to room temperature, Hybrar polymers are said to be suitable for noise reduction in the automotive sector, the electronics industry and for acoustic components.

"Hybrar molds readily and is resistant to heat and weather influences, (making it) ideal for sports articles and floor-coverings," the company said.

In its hydrated state, Kuraray added, the triblock copolymer can be mixed with polypropylene to achieve high transparency and clarity.