Vitolane® technology is a platform for the production of tailored chemicals which offer a range of functionalities.
Silsesquioxanes have a ceramic (silicon-oxygen) backbone with organic groups ('pendants') attached. The molecules are usually described as either cage (Fig.1) or ladder (Fig.2) structures. The pendants (the 'R' groups) are selected from a wide range of organic functional groups, including acrylate, epoxy, vinyl, fluorocarbon etc. type molecules (single functionalised), or two or more different R groups can be combined to create mixed molecule types (multiple functionalised).The R groups may be reactive or non-reactive.
The versatility of the Vitolane® process allows oligomers to be readily produced which are compatible with a given class of formulation. For example, an acrylic functionalised molecule may be selected for blending with conventional acrylate oligomers and monomers. Silsesquioxane molecules are readily generated in liquid form and can therefore be introduced early and easily in the formulation process, whether to existing formulations or in the creation of new ones. This formulation approach may be used to create a wide range of adhesives, coatings or bulk materials.
By changing the ratio of reactive to non-reactive R groups in silsesquioxane molecules, they can be tailored to offer optimal levels of cross-linking.
The cage or ladder structures can have a reactive R group attached to each silicon atom. If the R group is polymerisable, very high cross link densities can be achieved, resulting in substantial or even complete inorganic connectivity. This combined with high cross linking in the organic system can provide:
- Improved abrasion resistance
- Improved solvent resistance
- Improved barrier properties
- Enhanced stiffness
- Increased heat distortion temperatures
Vitolane® technology uses atomic silicon (atomic radius 0.118nm), which is chemically bound into the organic polymer matrix. This is in contrast to conventional methods of generating these properties through the use of dispersions of ceramic particles down to 9nm in size in the network. This conventional approach results in low levels of cross linking, hence the enhancement of the above properties is restricted.
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