Imerlink™ is an innovative engineered solution designed specifically to compatibilize recycled blends of PE and PP.
Polyolefins are the most widely used thermoplastics in the world. The two most common, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) represent more than 40% of global plastic consumption. For the recycling industry, these two polymers, which are non-miscible and incompatible, are challenging to sort due to their similar densities.
The most common PE/PP compatibilization technique consists in adding interfacial agents such as olefin block copolymers (OBC), in which the blocks are only miscible or compatible with the blend components. This technique only improves the interfacial adhesion through physical miscibility of the copolymer with the phases of the PE/PP blend. However, two phases can still be seen, showing that the blend is not fully compatibilized. Many commercial compatibilizers are of this type, and are relatively expensive.
ImerLink™ works in a different way. This mineral- based compatibilizer creates effective links between the components of the PE/PP blend through a reactive process.
In all tests, ImerLink™ has been shown to be superior to olefin block copolymer (OBC) compatibilizer as it does not just change the miscibility of the PE and PP phases in an MPO (mixed polyolefin) but creates a new network of bonds between these phases and the coated mineral as shown in the diagrams below.
Using ImerLink™, recycled polyolefin materials that would otherwise not be compatible can now be processed at up to 100% without any difficulty and used in higher value applications that meet key performance and cost requirements.