Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, is highly sought after among do-it-yourselfers and interior decorators—and with good reason. Vinyl wallpaper with an embossed 3D structure can lend an appealing ambiance to any room and is extremely easy to apply. And if you ever need to replace it, you can simply pull it off of the surface without wetting it. Vinyl flooring is available in countless designs as well, offering deceptively realistic imitations of classic marble, warm wood, or polished stone.
And polymeric flooring does more than simply look like these materials—it feels like them too. Embossed surfaces simulate the natural structure of wood and yield an anti-slip floor. Regardless of the look and feel of the material, the advantages of vinyl never change: The surface is pleasantly warm and does an excellent job of muffling footsteps.
Plasticizers are the determining factor for all of these positive characteristics. Thanks to them, PVC, which is actually brittle and hard, can be turned into a soft and flexible material which is insensitive to moisture and the constant back and forth of chairs.
Plasticizers act like a molecular lubricant, inserting themselves between PVC chains and allowing movement in what was originally a tightly packed, rigid structure whose chains now slide along and past each other.
It then comes as no surprise that plasticizers are among the most widely sold specialty chemicals in the EU. Evonik has been one of the leading plasticizer manufacturers for many years now.
And with the latest generation of the ELATUR® family, the company is helping manufacturers of high-quality soft PVC products develop long-lasting formulations with just the right degree of elasticity.
As one of the foremost plasticizers on the market, ELATUR® CH is, in terms of quantity, one of the most important components of many soft PVC products. Thanks to its exceptional properties, this molecule makes the crude PVC compound more flexible and, as such, easier to work with.
In order to produce PVC even faster and to make production more energy efficient, manufacturers often look to special additives such as quick-gelling agents.
Researchers at the Performance Intermediates Business Line of Evonik Performance Materials are already working on expanding the company’s plasticizer portfolio even further—for instance with products specially designed for use in materials subjected to extreme climate conditions. The goal is to produce technically outstanding products that are easy to handle, while offering the greatest possible benefit to customers and consumers.