July 1, 2008 — Novomer Inc., a renewable plastics, polymers and chemicals company, has made its first product commercially available. NB-180 is a poly (propylene carbonate) (PPC) sacrificial binder that burns cleaner, more uniformly and at lower temperatures than currently available products.
Sacrificial binders are used throughout the manufacturing process accomplishing many tasks such as providing mechanical strength to ensure uniform consistency, solidification or adhesion during manufacturing processes. Application areas are extremely broad and include advanced ceramics, microelectronics, nanotechnology, metal brazing and fuel cells.
“Novomer’s NB-180 is the cleanest burning material I have ever used,” says Shahyaan Desai, co-founder and CTO, Mezmeriz Inc. “There are several potential uses of the material in MEMS fabrication, particularly temporary wafer bonding, which will save both time and money through the reduction of processing steps.”
NB-180 is an amorphous, colorless thermoplastic polymer that degrades completely and uniformly into environmentally benign products, making it superb for high performance applications. The purity and low ash residue make NB-180 an ideal sacrificial material for use in the precise assembly of micro- and nano-scale devices.
“We believe that NB-180 is the cleanest-burning binder available, and demand is very strong for these types of materials in clean-room technologies,” says Fox Holt, product manager, Novomer. “As products become smaller and smaller, manufacturing processes become increasingly exact. NB-180 can help deliver the precision required in these critical operations.”
NB-180 burns cleaner than competitive products. Ash residues are typically much less than five parts per million. Based on three percent binder use levels, residual ash levels in finished parts are less than one part per million. Decreasing residue levels translates to reduced defect rates and other quality issues during manufacturing.
NB-180 also decomposes more predictably at temperatures that are much lower than currently available products. For example, it decomposes completely in air by 250 degrees C, starting at 180 degrees C. This decomposition temperature is at least 50 degrees C below that of many binders currently in use. Complete burnout occurs by 300 degrees C in inert atmospheres such as nitrogen, argon and hydrogen.
NB-180 was developed using Novomer’s patented catalyst technology, which enables the production of polymers and plastics using greenhouse gases (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide), reducing the need for non-renewable petroleum products as feedstocks. Resulting materials are 30 to 50 percent carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide by weight, depending on the precise formulation. NB-180 is more than 40 percent by weight carbon dioxide.