Task 1: Material development ARMECO unicolour and ARMECO granite look
Remel, a commercial long fibre reinforced melamine-formaldehyde (MF) compound of DSM/Perstorp, was modified in order to be suitable for sanitary applications. This was achieved by using the right fillers and glass fibres and by adjusting the MF content, glass fibres content and fillers content. A granite look grade of ARMECO was developed by adding granules to the compound to enhance surface appearance. A new type of granules was developed to ensure a good adhesion between granules and resin. Thereby also preventing staining problems.
Task 2: Development of production technology.
The well known production technology for sheet moulding compounds (SMC) was modified and used for the application of granules in the material. Laboratory production runs showed that this new production technology is very suitable for the production of ARMECO material with a homogeneous and consistent distribution of granules. Several scale-up production runs done at a production plant also showed the feasibility of this production technology to produce ARMECO material on a production scale. Nevertheless, some scale-up problems were observed, but also recognized and judged as solvable.
Task 3: Processing; moulding know how.
The curing chemistry of Armeco differ from polyester based SMC; due to the condensation reaction a lot of water is produced. Therefore a venting step is required during moulding of Armeco; this is a key-factor for an optimal processing of Armeco. This was shown during the optimisation of moulding parameters for both physical and visual properties of large surface area Armeco mouldings. This resulted in very nice unicolour kitchensinks and acceptable large surface granite look panels. In order to improve the flow characteristics it is recommended to preheat the material. Due to the good mouldability of Armeco, it is possible to process Armeco on existing industrial equipment (if venting step can be applied).
Objectives and content
General Project Goal: To develop a new type of material,
consisting of Melamine Formaldehyde resin, long glass
fibres (25 mm), inorganic fillers and additives
addressing the needs in the building market for products
with higher durability, increased hygiene, better
ergonomics, aesthetic design and appearance and easy
installation at a competitive price.
Materials like laminates, enamelled steel and painted
systems have a fundamental problem in the fact that their
surface performance is provided by a special layer bonded
on a backing material. Upon damaging repair is not
possible and the product performances deteriorate. Also
those systems are merely 2-dimensional. Newer so called
solid surface materials, like casted or extruded acrylate
systems, have intrinsically sufficient surface
performance and therefore do not need a special surface
layer. Their main drawback is the low mechanical
properties leading to products with excessive thickness,
weight and cost. Although they have some freedom of
design there are still severe limitations in this
respect. Unsaturated Polyester compounds have full
freedom of design and excellent mechanical properties.
They are reinforced with 25 mm glass fibres. However, in
contrary to Melamine Formaldehyde resins the matrix resin
is not durable.
The aim of this project is to develop a material which
a solid surface material
based on Melamine Formaldehyde resin
long fibre reinforced
This material will allow building products manufacturers
to design and produce products that fulfil all above
mentioned market needs. Possible ARMECO products are
worktops, sinks, vanity tops, shower trays and
accessories. The attainable market for ARMECO products
is estimated to be 220 MECU.
The project will have the following achievements:
A material fulfilling the following technical
withstand 200 hrs boiling water test
scratch resistance >3 N
abrasion resistance < 40 mg/100 rev
flexural modulus > 18 GPa, flexural strength > 160 MPa
impact strength > 40 kJ/m2
A production process on pilot scale which proves that
productions rates of 1 ton per hour are feasible.
A technology which allows seamless bonding of ARMECOproducts
25 prototype parts of a product representative for the
target market proving that the material can be moulded
into products with adequate performance under
economically acceptable conditions (pressure < 100
kg/cm2, temperature 140 - 160 C, curing time < 40 s/mm
The consortium consists of 2 large chemical companies
which both are leading in materials related to ARMECO and
therefore in possession of valuable related technology, a
major building products manufacturer who also has a
moulding operation, therefore contributing end product
know-how and conversion technology and a university with
broad experience in material science.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
412 96 Göteborg
S80 5HG Sheffield
284 80 Perstorp