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Biodegradable Organic Binders – Low Temperature Glass Paste

Empower Materials Inc. is the producer of QPAC®, the world’s cleanest thermally decomposable organic binder. QPAC® cleanly decomposes into CO2 and water in many types of atmospheres and leaves virtually no residue. This property contributes to QPAC®‘s widespread usage in many demanding applications.

QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are a unique family of innovative thermoplastics representing a true breakthrough in polymer technology. While traditional plastics have been primarily petroleum-based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. The resultant polymers are amorphous, clear, readily processible, and have long-term mechanical stability. They are also environmentally friendly by consuming 50% fewer petrochemicals, as compared to other polymers which are 100% petrochemical-based. In addition, they may exhibit biodegradable properties consistent with an environmentally friendly binder.

QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, and QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, are the two most widely used products within our family of binders. However, there is a wide range of QPAC® polymers possible by varying the epoxide monomer or using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction. Our technical group has the expertise to effectively work with you to develop the appropriate product for your application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates. Empower Materials can make large quantities (1000’s kgs) of QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC®100- a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate.

Additionally, a wide range of other QPAC® polymers is possible via the substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. In addition to QPAC®25, QPAC®40, and QPAC®100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate, and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively). The following have been successfully synthesized on pilot scale equipment:

QPAC®60 (poly-butylene-carbonate) and QPAC®130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate)

Empower Materials also has the technology to modify the polymer’s molecular weight across a very broad range.

Biodegradable Plastics Polymers – QPAC Polyalkylene Carbonate Sacrificial Binders 

Empower Materials is a materials company making a family of high-performance, biodegradable plastics polymers used primarily as sacrificial binders. These sacrificial binders called QPAC® are used in many highly technical applications.

Applications of QPAC Polyalkylene Carbonate Organic Binders

Empower Materials makes a family of QPAC® polyalkylene carbonates that degrade completely and uniformly into environmentally benign products making it excellent for high-performance applications including low-temperature glass paste applications.

QPAC® Plastic Polymers in Low-Temperature Glass Paste Applications 

QPAC® polypropylene carbonate and polyethylene carbonate both decompose at temperatures significantly lower than other conventional binders. Additionally, the residual carbon level is significantly lower. Both these properties are highly beneficial in low-temperature glass paste applications. The QPAC sacrificial binder is added to a paste composition comprising a solvent and at least one low-temperature glass frit. The sacrificial binder provides a route for preparing a paste with excellent homogeneity, low debind and sintering temperature, low impurity levels, and customizable physical features.

Viscosity Properties of QPAC® Organic Binders

QPAC® also provides excellent viscosity properties to the paste formulation for deposition. These paste compositions for forming ceramic composites can be directly written or otherwise deposited by a miniaturized pen and subsequently processed into solid-state materials.

QPAC® Organic Binders in LED and OLED Applications 

Additionally, QPAC can be used as a sealing glass binder in low temperature sealing glass applications in which a low-temperature glass is used to seal two other glass substrates. One of the main applications for QPAC in this area is OLED and LED displays.

Organic-Sacrificial Binders for Metallic Pastes

Empower Materials Inc. is the producer of QPAC®, the world’s cleanest thermally decomposable organic/sacrificial binders. QPAC® cleanly decomposes into CO2 and water in many types of atmospheres and leaves virtually no residue. This property contributes to QPAC®‘s widespread usage in many demanding applications.

QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are a unique family of innovative thermoplastics representing a true breakthrough in polymer technology. While traditional plastics have been primarily petroleum-based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. The resultant polymers are amorphous, clear, readily processible, and have long-term mechanical stability. They are also environmentally friendly by consuming 50% fewer petrochemicals, as compared to other polymers which are 100% petrochemical-based. In addition, they may exhibit biodegradable properties consistent with an environmentally friendly binder.

QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, and QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, are the two most widely used products within our family of binders. However, there is a wide range of QPAC® polymers possible by varying the epoxide monomer or using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction. Our technical group has the expertise to effectively work with you to develop the appropriate product for your application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates. Empower Materials can make large quantities (1000’s kgs) of QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC®100- a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate.

Additionally, a wide range of other QPAC® polymers is possible via the substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. In addition to QPAC®25, QPAC®40, and QPAC®100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate, and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively). The following have been successfully synthesized on pilot scale equipment:

QPAC®60 (poly-butylene-carbonate) and QPAC®130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate)

Empower Materials also has the technology to modify the polymer’s molecular weight across a very broad range.

Key Benefits of QPAC®40 Polypropylene Carbonate Organic Binders

Key Benefits of QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate include:

  • Excellent adhesion and improved lubricity
  • Co-firing in any atmosphere without oxidation
  • Complete and clean burnout at low temperatures
  • Products of combustion are only carbon dioxide & water

Empower Materials is a materials company making a family of high-performance, biodegradable plastics polymers used primarily as sacrificial binders. These sacrificial binders called QPAC are used in many highly technical applications. Empower Materials makes a family of QPAC polyalkylene carbonates that degrade completely and uniformly into environmentally benign products making it excellent for high-performance applications including precise assembly of micro and nanoscale devices.

QPAC® Binder for Metallic Pastes

One new exciting application area for QPAC® is as an organic binder for metallic pastes. QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate is currently being used as a binder in electrode pastes. Electrode pastes containing QPAC binder have significant benefits because of their low carbon residual levels which lead to reduced defect rates and other electrical quality issues.

Additional Applications of QPAC Organic Binders 

Additionally, QPAC® binder is used in terminal pastes and solar pastes. QPAC® has been successfully used as a binder in copper pastes, nickel pastes, silver pastes, and tungsten pastes for many electronic and solar applications.

Summary

Again, the QPAC® binder leads to both improved mechanical properties and efficiency of systems using QPAC® in their metallic paste formulations.

Carbonate Binders in Multilayer Piezoelectric Systems

Analysis has been done using QPAC40® Polypropylene carbonate as a clean-burning binder for base metal electrodes in NKN and PZT Piezoelectrics.

The experiment was conducted by the Center for Dielectric and Piezoelectrics, Material Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University.

Experiment

The QPAC40® allows a clean burnout at low temperature in N2 atmosphere. The QPAC40® allows the burnout to happen in a non-oxidizing environment at a low temperature.

The research at Penn State was conducted using the QPAC40® binder to create the tape. Traditionally, polyvinyl butyral, PVB has been used in both Ag/Pd and Ni co-fired multilayer actuators. This requires burnout to 400 °C. This temperature already surpasses the highest temperature of retaining the metallic state of both Cu and Ni.

To successfully prevent Ni and Cu form oxidation, clean burnout has to be accomplished at either in a low pO2 atmosphere or in a practically low temperature. With the conventional PVB system clean burnout cannot be attained. The high temperature needed for burnout and the high carbon residual levels caused poor results.

When the QPAC40® Polypropylene carbonate was used to create the tape, lower debind temperatures were possible and no detectable residue was left after burnout. The PVB system formed unwanted char while the QPAC®40 binder system developed propylene carbonate monomer which was vaporized without leaving any residual carbon.

Conclusion

This research article demonstrated that copper inner electrodes are extremely attracted as metal electrodes for co-firing with NKN. Further, the use of QPAC40® permits high densities and low dielectric loss multilayer piezoelectric structures.

This research complements other studies, which reveal that QPAC40® is an operative binder in tape casting. It results in a tape with superior green strength, as well as allows for the final sintered product to have excellent electrical properties because of the binder’s clean burnout properties.

Polyalkylene Carbonate for 3D Printers/Additive Technology

Many research organizations have investigated the use of QPAC® polyalkylene carbonate in 3D printer applications. The distinctive decomposition properties which include contaminant-free burnout and low temperature of QPAC® can be applied to this technology. There are many varieties of Additive Manufacturing (AM) Technology.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) Technology

The QPAC® has a different function based on the AM technology. In Binder Jetting Technology such as Laser Sintering technology, the binder is placed onto a powder bed by inkjet head layer by layer. A laser is then applied to sinter the powder. If the final product is used in an application where contaminants cannot be accepted then the QPAC® is the ideal choice for a binder in this system.

The QPAC® is also being broadly assessed in another type of 3D printer technology, known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The filament of a thermoplastic is unwound through a coil and then extruded via a nozzle and then will solidify to make layers. The object is created by extruding molten plastic to form layers as the material hardens instantly after extrusion from the nozzles. Here, the QPAC® can be utilized as the thermoplastic. If the end part requires the polymer to be decomposed (such as a mold), then the QPAC® can be an ideal choice, again due to its decomposition properties.

AM Technology may use polymer, ceramic, metal or glass as the mass to construct the 3D shape. In many cases these powders are sensitive to high curing temperatures. Since the QPAC® can be removed at lower temperatures than other binders, the QPAC® binder is the ideal material for these applications.

Conclusion

Thus, there are many varieties of AM Technologies that are investigating the use of QPAC® as either a binder or a material in their printer systems. The QPAC® polymers being tested rely on the final application. On the whole, the QPAC®25 and QPAC® 40 tend to be more flexible and provide good adhesion strength when used. The QPAC®100 and QPAC®130 provide higher stiffness and rigidity when desirable. All offer the same advantages of low-temperature debind and clean burnout.

An Organic Binder for Nanoparticle Applications

Empower Materials Inc. is the producer of QPAC®, the world’s cleanest thermally decomposable organic/sacrificial binders. QPAC® cleanly decomposes into CO2 and water in many types of atmospheres and leaves virtually no residue. This property contributes to QPAC®‘s widespread usage in many demanding applications.

QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are a unique family of innovative thermoplastics representing a true breakthrough in polymer technology. While traditional plastics have been primarily petroleum-based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. The resultant polymers are amorphous, clear, readily processible, and have long-term mechanical stability. They are also environmentally friendly by consuming 50% fewer petrochemicals, as compared to other polymers which are 100% petrochemical-based. In addition, they may exhibit biodegradable properties consistent with an environmentally friendly binder.

QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, and QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, are the two most widely used products within our family of binders. However, there is a wide range of QPAC® polymers possible by varying the epoxide monomer or using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction. Our technical group has the expertise to effectively work with you to develop the appropriate product for your application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates. Empower Materials can make large quantities (1000’s kgs) of QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC®100- a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate.

Additionally, a wide range of other QPAC® polymers is possible via the substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. In addition to QPAC®25, QPAC®40, and QPAC®100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate, and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively). The following have been successfully synthesized on pilot scale equipment:

QPAC®60 (poly-butylene-carbonate) and QPAC®130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate)

Empower Materials also has the technology to modify the polymer’s molecular weight across a very broad range.

QPAC® Polymers as Nanoparticle Binders

Nanopowders and nanocomposites behave differently than traditional powders. Their unique properties also require unique additives and processing. QPAC®25 and QPAC®40 superior burnout characteristics, including low-temperature decomposition and exceptionally low residue levels, offer properties demanded by these nanoparticles.

QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate and QPAC®25 polyethylene carbonate are used as a binder in several nano-related applications. QPAC® is used as a sacrificial material in MEMS applications. Other applications include bonding of nanopowders to silicon substrates including silicon wafers and in nanopowder coating applications.

Properties of QPAC® Polymers in Nanoparticle Binder Applications

The growing interest in QPAC® as an organic nanoparticle binder can be attributed to the following properties:

  • QPAC® is compatible with a variety of nanopowders including metals and ceramics.
  • Both QPAC®25 polyethylene carbonate and QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate are naturally tacky and their degrees of plasticity can be adjusted as necessary.
  • Decomposition is complete through three phases; solid, liquid, and vapor.
  • Upon decomposition, QPAC® leaves very low ash residue with the complete burnout of carbon.
  • QPAC® decomposes completely between 200 to 300°C which can be as much as or more than 100°C below the decomposition temperature of other binders.
  • QPAC® binders are also unique in that they burn out mild, without violent gas formation. Thus, whether the process operates in an oxidizing, reducing, or inert atmosphere, there is less cracking in the part.

These properties result in structures with superior properties compared to structures prepared with more conventional binders. Additionally, QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate and QPAC®25 polyethylene carbonate use up to 50% fewer petrochemicals than traditional plastics.

Organic Binders in Fuel Cell Fabrication

Empower Materials Inc. is the producer of QPAC®, the world’s cleanest thermally decomposable organic/sacrificial binders. QPAC® cleanly decomposes into CO2 and water in many types of atmospheres and leaves virtually no residue. This property contributes to QPAC®‘s widespread usage in many demanding applications.

QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are a unique family of innovative thermoplastics representing a true breakthrough in polymer technology. While traditional plastics have been primarily petroleum-based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. The resultant polymers are amorphous, clear, readily processible, and have long-term mechanical stability. They are also environmentally friendly by consuming 50% fewer petrochemicals, as compared to other polymers which are 100% petrochemical-based. In addition, they may exhibit biodegradable properties consistent with an environmentally friendly binder.

QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, and QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, are the two most widely used products within our family of binders. However, there is a wide range of QPAC® polymers possible by varying the epoxide monomer or using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction. Our technical group has the expertise to effectively work with you to develop the appropriate product for your application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates. Empower Materials can make large quantities (1000’s kgs) of QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC®100- a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate.

Additionally, a wide range of other QPAC® polymers is possible via the substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. In addition to QPAC®25, QPAC®40, and QPAC®100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate, and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively). The following have been successfully synthesized on pilot scale equipment:

QPAC®60 (poly-butylene-carbonate) and QPAC®130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate)

Empower Materials also has the technology to modify the polymer’s molecular weight across a very broad range.

QPAC® Organic Binders in Fuel Cell Fabrication

QPAC® is clean-burning, decomposes at very low temperatures, burns out completely and consistently, and offers exceptional green strength for ceramic parts.

If you look closely at the composition of QPAC®, you may find that it has additional benefits for other uses in the construction of fuel cells.

QPAC®25, or PEC polyethylene carbonate can prevent or obstruct oxygen from passing through the porous membrane film.

QPAC®40, or PPC polypropylene carbonate is an effective water barrier. It is not soluble in water, which is the main constituent in the electrolytic solution into which the fuel cell is placed.

Both polymers are suitable for extrusion or co-extrusion with/for the porous selective membrane film.

Both polymers could be utilized as a solid matrix for holding the electrolyte or catalyst in place in the fuel cell. Both grades of QPAC® would be extremely flexible in terms of the shape or thickness of the matrix.

Additionally, QPAC® could be altered to add some conducting moiety to the polymer backbone, which would allow it to be used as the electrolyte.

Clean Water Based Polypropylene Carbonate Emulsion System

Empower Materials Inc. is the producer of QPAC®, the world’s cleanest thermally decomposable organic/sacrificial binders. QPAC® cleanly decomposes into CO2 and water in many types of atmospheres and leaves virtually no residue. This property contributes to QPAC®‘s widespread usage in many demanding applications.

QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are a unique family of innovative thermoplastics representing a true breakthrough in polymer technology. While traditional plastics have been primarily petroleum-based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. The resultant polymers are amorphous, clear, readily processible, and have long-term mechanical stability. They are also environmentally friendly by consuming 50% fewer petrochemicals, as compared to other polymers which are 100% petrochemical-based. In addition, they may exhibit biodegradable properties consistent with an environmentally friendly binder.

QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, and QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, are the two most widely used products within our family of binders. However, there is a wide range of QPAC® polymers possible by varying the epoxide monomer or using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction. Our technical group has the expertise to effectively work with you to develop the appropriate product for your application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates. Empower Materials can make large quantities (1000’s kgs) of QPAC®25, polyethylene carbonate, QPAC®40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC®100- a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate.

Additionally, a wide range of other QPAC® polymers is possible via the substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. In addition to QPAC®25, QPAC®40, and QPAC®100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate, and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively). The following have been successfully synthesized on pilot scale equipment:

QPAC®60 (poly-butylene-carbonate) and QPAC®130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate)

Empower Materials also has the technology to modify the polymer’s molecular weight across a very broad range.

Clean Water Based Polypropylene Carbonate Emulsion System

There is a growing interest in nonsolvent systems with the push toward greener technologies. Traditionally, polyalklene carbonates, including polypropylene carbonate, PPC, were only supplied in solvent-based systems because they are not soluble in water. Empower Materials developed a water-based emulsion system several years ago to address customer needs for a water-based polypropylene carbonate emulsion.

This product has recently been improved to offer the customer an exceptionally clean and stable emulsion. With a proprietary process, Empower Materials can produce a QPAC®40 polypropylene carbonate emulsion that exhibits excellent mechanical properties for a water-based emulsion. The emulsion is stable with a long shelf life, and the additives have been minimized and are of the cleanest type to match the clean properties of QPAC®40. Additionally, the suspended particles are extremely fine. This aqueous dispersion is now commercially available.

Empower Materials Wins North American Technology Innovation of the Year Award

Empower Materials was awarded the North American Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the carbon capture materials market by Frost and Sullivan. The Technology Award is a prestigious recognition of Empower Materials’ accomplishments in renewable and sustainable materials. Empower Materials, based in New Castle, DE, has developed QPAC® Polyalkylene Carbonate plastics derived from carbon dioxide and produced through the copolymerization of the gas with one or more epoxides.

In announcing the award, Frost & Sullivan commented:

“Frost & Sullivan is proud to present the 2011 North American Technology Innovation of the Year Award in Carbon Capture Materials to Empower Materials Inc. The Award was based on Empower Materials’ superior overall rating above its competition on five criteria: uniqueness of technology, impact on new products/applications, impact on functionality, impact on customer value, and relevance of innovation to the industry.

Large amounts of carbon dioxide are released when fossil fuels are burned and major global climate changes are predicted as carbon dioxide concentration increases in the atmosphere. Empower Materials has developed QPAC copolymers – materials derived from carbon dioxide, and produced through the copolymerization of the gas with one or more epoxides. Empower Materials’ polymers are a welcome alternatives to traditional fossil fuel-based plastics since in addition to helping reduce the use of fossil fuels, they can create a market for waste carbon dioxide.

They are a viable, eco-friendly alternative solution to carbon capture and carbon sequestration. Frost & Sullivan expects that the trend for alternatives to traditional materials to create a significant impact on the polymer manufacturing and processing domain, as a strong preference toward eco-friendly products is currently being emphasized. In this context, the catalyst, proprietary conditions, and proprietary manufacturing process of Empower Materials has created a unique technology platform.

Empower Materials Inc. Produces Commercial Scale Quantities of QPAC®60 Polybutylene Carbonate

Empower Materials recently finished several production size polymer synthesis reactions to produce large quantities of QPAC®60 Polybutylyene Carbonate.

These polymers add to the other green polymers commercially produced by Empower Materials, QPAC®25 Polyethylene Carbonate, QPAC®40 Polypropylene Carbonate, QPAC®100 Polypropylene/ Polycyclohexene Carbonate, and QPAC®130 Polycyclohexene Carbonate

QPAC®60 has similar decomposition properties to QPAC®25 and QPAC®40. It degrades at low temperatures and the residuals remaining after decomposition are negligible.  The polymer has a higher glass transition temperature than both QPAC®25 and QPAC®40.  It also exhibits unique flexibility while maintaining excellent strength and binding/ adhesion properties. One targeted application for QPAC®60 is for tape casting applications.

The new catalyst technology developed recently has allowed for the production of these materials as well as higher molecular weights for both QPAC®25 and QPAC®40, QPAC®100 Polypropylene/ Polycyclohexene Carbonate, and QPAC®130 Polycyclohexene Carbonate

Please contact PeterFerraro@empowermaterials.com for more information.