The cracking and popping sounds of PVCu roofline products on the move that spoil the peace and tranquillity of lazy summer days in the garden could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new generation heat reflective colour masterbatches that reduce surface temperature.
PVCu products coloured with conventional pigments fade, especially darker shades. Also retained heat causes thermal expansion and physical degradation which leads to buckling. Eventually products fail because joints and seals shift out of line and leakages occur.
Rigid PVC products coloured with Vynacol polymer specific PVCu masterbatches incorporating the latest heat reflecting infrared pigment technology enable any colour to be used successfully and offer temperature performance profiles of up to 40% lower than conventionally coloured materials.
Developed in conjunction with Freefoam Plastics in Cork, Ireland, the Vynacol masterbatches solve thermal stability problems in PVCu and dramatically increase service life. While cool plastics last longer environmental benefits follow: less heat on the planet translates into greater energy efficiency and increased quality of life for everyone.
Traditionally the solution to heat dissipation has been to colour everything white. While this is effective it stifles design options and limits consumer choice.
The capability of an object to reflect light energy acts to reduce heat build up. Every pigment has its own infrared reflective characteristics and so in simple terms the solution to producing cool plastics products is to use pigments that reflect as much energy as possible. This means any colour can be used, including black, while minimising heat degradation.
Pigments can also be selected for other properties. In the case of roofline products, for example, colourists also seek optimum weatherability properties.
Pigments with these superior qualities are inorganic and being specially constructed they carry a premium price which will be reflected in the cost of the end product. However, this will largely be offset by more durable colours and extended service life.
Colour Tone worked with Freefoam to develop colouring technology that could be used to create coloured masterbatches incorporating infrared reflective pigments so a whole raft of PVCu building and roofline products could be produced in any colour. The challenges involved many hours of formulation and extensive production tests.
Heat reflective plastics are considered to have great potential. Applications include outdoor roofline products such as guttering, soffits and cladding, furniture, leisure and agricultural goods as well as automotive industry components - especially in countries where temperatures and light energy are high.
While the formulations have been developed to work in PVCu, the technology is transferable into other polymers which will serve to broaden penetration into different market sectors.