Environmentally-Benign Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTEE) Coating for Mold Release
GVD proposed to develop high performance, VOC-free and PFOA-free, non-stick mold release coating based on its novel PTFE (Polytetraflouroethylene) fluoropolymer technology. Most commercial mold release agents make use of organic solvents and vaporize during drying, creating a significant air quality impact. Even water-based formulations often require the use of fluorinated surfactant additives to stay suspended in the liquid. These surfactants such as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) have been shown to be exceptionally pervasive in the environment, and are biopersistent and carcinogenic. Drying and curing processes of wet applied releases are also energy intensive, requiring 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 (PTFE) coatings offer such an alternative. PTFE offers an unparalleled combination of low surface energy (anti-stick), chemical resistance, and thermal stability. GVD produces thin, conformal, environmental-benign PTFE coatings at low temperature via the innovative initiated Chemical 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 uniform coating at the same time. Using iCVD, GVD and optimize PTFE’s surface energy, adhesion, and durability during deposition. GVD’s iCVD deposition process has zero hazardous emissions. There are a wide variety of markets and application for GVD’s mold release coating, including seals and gaskets, foam, automotive parts, composite part molding, and medical products. With improved adhesion and durability, GVD will be able to access more of these applications. In Phase I, GVD achieved the goals of improved adhesion and durability of our PTFE coatings for mold release applications. Bench scale testing showed that changes to the PTFE coating recipe improved coating adhesion with even greater improvement upon addition of and adhesion promoter. Initial molding tests with uncured molding materials, a challenging condition, demonstrated that the advances made during Phase I resulted in significant improvements to mold release durability. GVD’s coatings also outperformed wet-applied mold release coatings in the molding test. In this Phase II proposal, GVD will test these formulations at industrial scale with global leaders in tire and automotive manufacturing. At the end of this work GVD will deliver a widely applicable, commercial solution to the issue of toxic, polluting, and low-performance mold release agents.
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