Foaming Agent Masterbatches or Concentrates

RTP Company’s foaming agent masterbatches provide several benefits to injection molded plastic articles:

  • Reductions of plastic part weight by up to 20% for density critical applications such as fuel floats and energy saving transportation equipment.
  • Elimination of sink marks on injection molded parts — sink marks are shallow depressions on a part surface and are the result excessive shrinkage in thicker areas of the part — they can be minimized by adding a small amount of foaming agent which creates just enough internal pressure within the molded part to offset excessive shrinkage and reduce sink marks.

Foaming agent masterbatches are available for most thermoplastics. Choosing the proper masterbatch grade is important:

  • It should activate and foam at a temperature slightly below the normal processing temperature of the host polymer.
  • Masterbatch carriers must also be compatible with the host polymer to avoid blistering and delamination during molding.

RTP Company has developed specific foaming agent masterbatches that have excellent activation and compatibility with intended polymer systems.

Foaming Agent Masterbatch (FCX) Products

RTP Product Chemistry Typical Gas Yield @ 450 ˚F Loading Process Temp. Range Characteristics
FCX 141475 Endothermic 110 cm3/g 60% 400 – 475 ˚F Very high gas yield. Best endothermic design for weight reduction
FCX 111263 Endothermic 72 cm3/g 50% 400 – 475 ˚F High gas yield. Weight reduction.
FCX 128112 Endothermic 45 cm3/g 35% 400 – 475 ˚F Medium gas yield. Good surface appearance.
FCX 141456 Endothermic 23 cm3/g 20% 400 – 475 ˚F Low gas yield. Good surface appearance.
FCX 141458 Endothermic 16 cm3/g 10% 400 – 475 ˚F Very low gas yield. Good surface appearance. Designed for thick walled olefin handles.
FCX 141460 Endothermic 24 cm3/g 20% 400 – 475 ˚F Small cell chemistry. Better part properties. Good surface appearance.
FCX 141459 Exothermic Azodicarbonamide Activated 68 cm3/g 40% 350 – 420 ˚F Weight reduction. No surface requirements. Low temperature applications.
FCX 127078 Exothermic Azodicarbonamide 67 cm3/g 40% 400 – 510 ˚F Weight reduction. No surface requirements. Medium/high temperature applications.
FCX 132639 Exothermic Non-Azodicarbonamide 23 cm3/g 20% 500 – 560 ˚F High temperature applications. Good surface appearance.
FCX 27301 Exothermic Azodicarbonamide 24 cm3/g 11% 400 – 490 ˚F Sink reduction.
FCX 27314 Exothermic Azodicarbonamide 24 cm3/g 11% 400 – 490 ˚F Sink reduction.

Resin Compatibility

PE PP TPO TPU TPE ABS PS HIPS SAN PA PET PBT PC PC/ABS PVC POM
FCX 141475  X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 111263 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 128112 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 141456 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 141458 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 141460 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 141459 X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 127078 X X X X X X X X X X X X
FCX 132639 X X X X X
FCX 27301  X X X X X X X
FCX 27314  X X X X

Usage Recommendations

1.0 to 5.0% depending on the activation level of the product, accuracy of the feeder, and the objective.

Foam Molding with FCX Foaming Agent Masterbatches

  1. Maximum foaming of a material should never exceed a 20% density reduction; 10-15% reductions are preferred. The recommended level of foaming agent is 1-5% FCX.
  2. For a foamed part, a clamp requirement of approximately one ton/in2 (14 N/mm2) is adequate.
  3. Wall thickness for a foamed part should have an absolute minimum of 0.187 in (5 mm).
  4. When using an exothermic CFA, the surface of a foamed part typically contains many swirls and flow lines compared to standard injection molding. When using an endothermic CFA, a good surface appearance is possible with a slightly less density reduction.
  5. Injection speeds should be set as fast as possible so the material entering the cavity is hot and has a low viscosity. This way, the foaming agent expands and fills the cavity before solidification occurs. Such temperatures, plus internal pressure from the foaming agent, mean the part must cool long enough to form a rigid skin that is thick enough to resist deformation upon demolding. With maximum foaming, the mold closed time may need to be increased.
  6. Use low holding pressure and zero cushion.
  7. A foamed part is generally more stress free and, therefore, less likely to distort or warp.
  8. Shut-off nozzle is required.

Sink Control Molding with FCX Foaming Agent Masterbatches

  1. Molding conditions and requirements are similar to normal injection molding parameters.
  2. Shut-off nozzle is recommended.
  3. To eliminate sinks, start with a low activation level CFA at 1.0%.
  4. Press requirement is approximately 4 tons/in2 (55 N/mm2).
  5. Use low holding pressure and minimum cushion.

Mold Design Recommendations

  1. Gate placement should be in a thin area.
  2. Runner size should be 0.375 in x 0.250 in (10 mm x 6 mm) trapezoidal to allow as much flow as possible.
  3. Venting is required around each cavity and additional vents near the end of the fill may be needed.
  4. Good turbulent flow cooling is needed in the tool to prevent post blow.
  5. Valve gates are preferred to keep the plastic melt under pressure.

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting procedures for foamable resins are much the same as for other thermoplastics. This table is presented as a quick reference guide. Only one solution to a given problem should be tried at any one time; never attempt to combine possible remedies.

Suggested
Remedies

Increase to improve Increase to improve
Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
MODIFICATION
Stock Temperature Mold Temperature Gate Size Moisture Clamp Pressure Injection Pressure Back Pressure Screw Speed Contamination Cooling Time Fill Rate/Speed Shot Size Venting Blowing Agent Regrind
P
R
O
B
L
E
M
Heavy Part Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve
Post Blow Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve
Elephant Skin Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Short Shot Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Flash Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
Warpage Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Sinks Increase to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Voids Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve
Slowing Speed Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Poor Surface Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Brittleness Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
Brown Streaks Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
Charred Areas Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
Part Sticking Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve
Poor Weld Lines Increase to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve
Delamination Decrease to improve Increase to improve Increase to improve Decrease to improve
 Increase to improve Increase to improve
Decrease to improve Decrease to improve
Suggested
Remedies
Stock Temperature Mold Temperature Gate Size Moisture Clamp Pressure Injection Pressure Back Pressure Screw Speed Contamination Cooling Time Fill Rate / Speed Shot Size Venting Blowing Agent Regrind
MODIFICATION

This information is intended to be used only as a guideline for designers and processors of modified thermoplastics for injection molding. Because injection mold design and processing is complex, a set solution will not solve all problems. Observation on a “trial and error” basis may be required to achieve desired results.