Senior Research Engineer, Arkema Inc.
James Henry is a Senior Research Engineer at Arkema Inc. located at the Research Center in King of Prussia, PA. James received a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering in 1986 from the University of Lowell, and his Master's Degree in Plastics Engineering in 2003 from the University of Massachusetts. Jim joined Arkema Inc.in January 2001 where he focuses his attentions on Fluoropolymer R&D activities in Wire & Cable, Oil & Gas, Chemical Processing Industries, and most recently, Polymeric Fibers.
Meltblowing is a ubiquitous commercial process for the production of large quantities of filtration media consisting of single- and sub-micron diameter fibers. Frequently, the materials used in the meltblowing process are thermoplastic polymers, often polypropylene (PP) or poly(butylene terephthalate) or poly(ethylene terephthalate) polyesters (PBT or PET). To be amenable to the process, these resins must have extremely high melt flow rates relative to other thermoplastics commonly used in extrusion or injection-molding applications. Given this requirement, the selection of resin chemistries is very limited, with the aforementioned two material classes (PP, polyester) accounting for 99+% of all meltblown materials. Kynar® PVDF is a readily melt-processable fluoropolymer, known for its superior chemical and oxidative resistance and is used in applications such as industrial piping, porous filtration membranes and lithium-ion battery separator applications among others, where processability, chemical-resistance, and thermo-mechanical properties are critical to the application. Here, we present advancements in the development of a novel grade of Kynar® PVDF with melt flow rate amenable to the meltblowing process, and results of meltblowing trials using equipment that is standard for PP resins with no further modification. Webs of meltblown PVDF with single- and sub-micron diameter fibers were produced with excellent uniformity, reproducibility and process control. It is expected that these materials will find use in applications requiring high chemical and oxidative resistance unattainable with hydrocarbon-type materials.