BASF develops semi-transparent nylon

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Photo by BASF SE The company claims it is the first semi-crystalline nylon for transparent and semi-transparent components in chemically challenging environments.

A new, semi-transparent nylon could compete against polycarbonate in aggressive conditions, according to its developer BASF SE.

Ultramid Vision is a semi-crystalline nylon featuring very high light transmission and low light scattering properties. It retains nylon’s chemical resistance and resists high temperatures and UV degradation, BASF announced on Oct. 10. The company claims it is the first semi-crystalline nylon for transparent and semi-transparent components in chemically challenging environments.

The new material is suited for use in visual check components such as fluid level indicators as well as applications in illumination and light fixtures. It combines the good mechanical properties and

processability of nylon 6 at an attractive price, BASF claims. It can be an alternative to PC, amorphous aliphatic polyamides and styrene-acrylonitrile copolymers. BASF says it can be used with other nylons in multi-component injection moulding for multi-functional products with transparent or illuminated sections.

Conventional nylons are nearly opaque at wall thicknesses of about 1 millimetre but parts moulded from Ultramid Vision allow see-through applications at wall thicknesses of up to several millimetres, according to BASF. Optical properties are maintained at elevated temperatures and moisture. The new nylon also resists scratching and is suited to flame-retardant uses.

The nylon’s outstanding UV resistance allows it to withstand direct exposure to sunlight as well as indoor uses involving UV light. It resists stress cracking due to sunscreen, cleaning agents, solvents and fats and oils.

BASF says Ultramid Vision is available worldwide for sampling. The B3K uncoloured base resin can be tailored for diffuse light scattering and high transmittance. Specially coloured grades are available, or the resin can be coloured with nylon-based colour masterbatches.

Shock- and chemical resistant covers for lighting sources, back-lit switches and buttons are potential applications. Its ease of colouring with low-migration and lightfast colorants improves design flexibility.

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