Environmentally-Benign Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTEE) Coating for Mold Release
GVD proposed to develop high performance, solventless and PFOA-free, non-stick mold release coatings based on its novel PTFE fluoropolymer technology. Most commercial mold release agents make use of organic solvents that when liberated during the drying process may have a significant air quality impact. The drying/curing process may also be energy intensive, requiring additional consumption of fossil fuels and the attendant emission of greenhouse gases. The environmental problems associated with these mold release agents and tighter regulations imposed on their use are generating urgency among manufacturers to identify green alternative release agents with the same level of performance. GVD’s green polytetrafluoroethylene (PRFE) coating offers such an alternative. PTFE offers an unparalleled combination of low surface energy (anti-stick), chemical resistance, and thermal stability. GVD produces thin, conformal, environmentally-benign PFTE coatings at low temperature via novel initiated Chem ical Vapor Deposition (iCVD) process. In this solvent-free process, GVD creates the pure PTFE fluoropolymer from reactive precursor vapors and deposits the PTFE as a coating at the same time. Using iCVD, GVD can optimize PTFE’s surface energy, adhesion, and durability during deposition. Reactive fluorocarbon vapors deposit uniformly across the mold surface, forming the lubricious PTFE release coating. Further, these PTFE coatings are applied at room-temperature and do not require curing or other post-processing (conventional wet-applied PTFE coatings require sintering at>330°C). GVD’s PFTE coating have already shown excellent mold release performance in some niche applications. However, improved PTFE coating durability is needed when “sticker” polymers are being molded and demolded, such as those used in fabricating fiber-resin composites. GVD proposed to markedly improve the durability of its PTFE coatings, affording manufactures and affordable, green, and high performance alternative to conve ntional solvent-based mold release agents. In Phase I, GVD will conduct a series of experiments designed to improve the durability performance of GVD coatings. The most promising coating formulations will be downselected through a series of increasingly rigorous testing. Wet-applied mold release agents will be tested for comparison. By the end of Phase I, GVD will have generated PTFE-based coating formulations showing enhanced durability and release properties superior to that of conventional mold release products. In Phase II, promising recipes from Phase I will be subjected to further testing and process scale-up will be undertaken. Subsequently, mold release coating will be commercialized through contract coating of mold elements followed by a license and equipment sale model once volumes increase.
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