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Ethylene Copolymer Modifiers for High-performance, Low-smoke PVC Compounds

Speaker Bio: Paul Brigandi, Application Development Leader, Dow (Pennsylvania, USA)

Dr. Paul Brigandi is an Application Development Leader for the telecom segment in the Dow Wire & Cable business unit based in Collegeville, PA. Paul has experience in research and development with focus on new insulation, jacket, conductive composites, and polymer modifier material developments. His technical expertise includes formulation and processing of polyolefins, elastomers, and polymer composites. Paul earned a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Lehigh University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Prior to this role, he led formulation and application development of electrically conductive composites and insulation materials for power transmission and distribution. Paul is active in CCCA and Fiber Broadband Association technical committees. He also serves as Councilor, secretary, and on the Board of Directors of the Society of Plastics Engineers Lehigh Valley Section.

Abstract: Cables installed in air plenum spaces including fiber optic and twisted pair communication cables must meet stringent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 262) standards to limit flame and smoke propagation. Plenum cables are most often jacketed with a low smoke polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compound. The plasticizers used to impart flexibility to PVC are largely low molecular weight liquids. The liquid plasticizers tend to result in high smoke generation and migrate out over time, particularly at elevated temperatures, leading to deterioration of aged properties.

Ethylene copolymer modifiers are designed to deliver permanent plasticization over time, decreased flammability and smoke generation, increased strength and low temperature flexibility in PVC and other flame retardant compositions. The high molecular weight polymeric modifiers allow compounders to increase the amount of flame retardant additives without compromising strength and flexibility. This paper provides a review of ethylene copolymer modifiers used in PVC compounds including new data as well as a brief summary of impactful data from scientific literature.

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