Product Development

Technology

polymer product development

How does electron beam process work?

Many polymers will crosslink when bombarded with fast electrons (a form of “ionizing radiation”). The ionized parts of the polymer chain connect with each other, forming a three-dimensional matrix with improved properties (impact resistance, abrasion resistance, tensile strength, hot modulus, etc.).

What materials respond well to electrons?

The various versions of polyethylene crosslink readily, often turning a commodity plastic part into a specialty product. Some fluoropolymers and PVC compounds also are used in commercial crosslinking applications. Other widely used polymers, like nylon, crosslink best when compounded with a crosslinking promoter.

Some polymer materials undergo chain scissioning. That turns out to be valuable in the production of Teflon® micro-powders, and in other applications.

Some crystal structures undergo valuable changes under electron beam irradiation. Diodes, transistors, and other semiconductor products can be improved, and gemstones such as topaz, rubelita, and diamonds are colored with electron beam irradiation.