Environmentally-Benign Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTEE) Coating for Mold ReleaseEPA Contract Number: EPD12012
Title: Environmentally-Benign Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTEE) Coating for Mold Release
Investigators: White, Aleksandr
Small Business: GVD Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: March 1, 2012 through August 31, 2012
Project Amount: $79,357
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2012) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Innovation in Manufacturing
GVD Corporation (GVD) proposes to develop high performance, solventless and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)-free, non-stick mold release coatings based on its novel polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fluoropolymer technology. Most commercial mold release agents make use of organic solvents that, when liberated, during the drying process may have a significant air quality impact. The drying/curing process also may be energy intensive, requiring additional 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 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, environmentally benign PTFE coatings at low temperature via the novel 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 coating at the same time. Using iCVD, GVD can optimize PTFE's surface energy, adhesion and durability during deposition. Reactive fluorocarbon vapors deposit uniformly across the mold surface, forming the lubricious PTFE release coating. Further, these PTFE coatings are applied at room-temperature and do not require curing or other post-processing (conventional wet-applied PTFE coatings require sintering at > 330°C). GVD’s PTFE coatings already have shown excellent mold release performance in some niche applications. However, improved PTFE coating durability is needed when “stickier” polymers are being molded and demolded, such as those used in fabricating fiber-resin composites. GVD proposes to markedly improve the durability of its PTFE coatings, offering manufacturers an affordable, green and high-performance alternative to conventional solvent-based mold release agents.
In Phase I, GVD will conduct a series of experiments designed to improve the durability performance of GVD coatings. The most promising coating formulations will be downselected through a series of increasingly rigorous testing. Wet-applied mold release agents will be tested for comparison. By the end of Phase I, GVD will have generated PTFE-based coating formulations showing enhanced durability and release properties superior to that of conventional mold release products. In Phase II, promising recipes from Phase I will be subjected to further testing and process scale-up will be undertaken. Subsequently, mold release coatings will be commercialized through contract coating of mold elements followed by a license and equipment sale model once volumes increase.