Colour me green, and keep it consistent
By Barry Copping
Posted 20 July 2012
PRW surveys the latest trends in colourants, additives and masterbatch.
Silver antimicrobial additives are finding wide application in plastics manufacture because of a number of advantages. Silver ions are permanently incorporated into the material and do not decline in activity with time, so are likely to remain effective for the lifetime of the product. They can also be viable when the life of the product is by definition short – as in disposable antimicrobial liners for medical suction systems.
The use of silver is perhaps good psychology, with the element’s connotations of high value and relative inertness. Silver seems far removed from those horrible “chemicals” which consumers are taught to hate and fear these days.
With continuing concern about hospital-acquired infections, and the efficacy of silver antimicrobials against such nasties as MRSA and E. coli, it’s no surprise to find them taken up for medical applications. The silver formulation may be either conventional or, in the case of Sanitized’s products, use a novel ceramic encapsulation.
Biocidal additives in general will soon be the subject of tighter European regulation, with important provisions on what sellers of goods containing them are allowed to claim about their efficacy. The tougher US regime will remain as it is.
More overt psychology is evident in the colour trend predictions recently published by the major firms Clariant and BASF. Whether or not we agree with “optimism that science and technology will find the best solutions to improve quality of life,” or that “a long-awaited intense green is coming to the fore” on our roads through new car colours, there is no doubt that these industrial majors put a lot of time and resource into researching their predictions.
Having chosen our product colours with due psychological insight, we’d better make sure that they are accurately and consistently rendered during production. A new spectrophotometer from Datacolor promises advanced scanning and data analysis capabilities.
We must also ensure that colours don’t degrade and fade in normal use, especially in outdoor environments with their higher exposure to ultraviolet light. Americhem is ready to help with custom additives for synthetic turf materials (green again). The additives boost stability against sunlight and oxidation, make the “grass” more realistic with a delustrant, and repeat the familiar theme of biological cleanliness with antimicrobials.
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