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SPECIALTY PLASTICS

Liquid Crystal Polymers


(LCP)

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LCP
History

Liquid crystal polymers, also known as


self-reinforced polymers were first
introduced in 1965 (@Kevlar from Du
Pont de Nemours).

This well-known aramid fiber is a


lyotropic (in solution form) macro-
molecularly ordered polymer.
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LCP

• This was followed in 1972 by Ekkcel 1-


2000 from Carborundum which was
Thermotropic (melt-processable) in nature

• Development work commenced in 1975 by


Celanese led in the mid eighties to Vectra
(now a Hoechst product) based on
thermotropic polyester.

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LCP
• BASF (Ultrax) and Bayer (KU 1-90 range)
have also now commenced production of LCPs.
The highly ordered state in solution or in the
melt contrasts with the randomly ordered
macromolecules of conventional polymers.

• Between the liquid and solid states, LCPs may


be in a liquid crystalline intermediate state
which is described as mesomorphous.

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LCP – molecular structure

a b

a- linear a
rigid unit
b- flexible
unit

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LCP
LCPs are characterized by two superimposed
structural principles:
- main chain polymers in which the rigid
molecular units (mesogens) are arranged in
the polymer chain &

- side chain polymers in which the mesogens


are attached as side groups.

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LCP
• Main chain polymers are not
suitable for use at high
temperatures.

• The side chain polymers are


distinguished by particularly good
electrical and optical properties
which are exploited in optical
storage or liquid crystal displays
(LCD).
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LCP
LCPs are based mainly on polyesters

but
polyestercarbonates,
polyesteramides,
polyesterimides &
polyazomethines

can also be used in their production.

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LCP – General Properties
Besides the properties typical of each type of
LCP, they all share the following characteristics:
• melt-processable
• ordered structures in the melt
• highly oriented in the solid state
(self-reinforcement)
• anisotropic property profile
• wide variation in properties possible by
selecting the appropriate LCP type

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LCP properties -1
In addition they exhibit the following
properties:

–medium density
–high tensile strength
–high notched impact strength
–high tensile modulus of elasticity, up to
–wide melting range
–high continuous service temperature

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LCP properties -2
• good low temperature properties

• low coefficient of linear expansion

• orientation easily achieved by injection


molding, extrusion and blow molding

• processable on standard machines

• low shrinkage

• low melt viscosity, but high strength and


extensibility of melt
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LCP properties -3

• good electrical properties

• high resistance to chemicals

• flammability UL 94 V-0 (0.8 mm)


without flame retardant

• low moisture absorption

• high resistance to stress cracking.


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LCP
Disadvantages are

- anisotropic physical properties,

- low strength of joints,

- low elongation at break (1.2 to


6.9%).
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LCP
A recently introduced amorphous LCP exhibits less
variation in properties at high temperatures. The
processing range is wider and the material can thus
be blow molded and thermoformed.

Processable LCPs cannot be obtained from rigid


linear macromolecules alone because they melt only
above their decomposition temperature. This
difficulty has been overcome by incorporating
flexible linkages in the main chain.

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LCP
Many properties, favorable and unfavourable, can be
significantly influenced by the choice of processing
conditions and molding design, e.g.:
 At large wall thicknesses, LCPs lose their peak
properties in the longitudinal direction,
 shrinkage can become negative in the direction of
flow,
 anisotropy can be reduced by adding fillers,
 filler content can be very high (> 40% w/w).

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LCP
AVAILABILITY

Liquid crystal polymers are available as a self-reinforcing,


glass, glass/mineral, or mineral carbon fibre filled resin

LCP is supplied as pellets in transparent and opaque grey,


dark and black colorations.

Injection molding grades and extrusion grades for rod,


tube, film and for extrusion coating.

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LCP
• The physical properties of self-reinforced
polymers do not differ significantly from those of
filled or reinforced engineering plastics.

• The ability to align the orientation tendency in


molded or semi-finished material with the
direction of the greatest stress to obtain high
performance moldings is unmatched

• The cost/performance ratio is also favorable – low


shrinkage, low processing temp.

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LCP Processing

LCP Injection Moldings

• The original point of using LCPs was to


exploit the increase in strength which can
be achieved by orientation of flow.

• The usual flat shaped design of injection


moldings leads, however, to a multi-axial
stress state which oriented LCP cannot
cope with isotropically.
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LCP Processing
Injection Moldings
• The unavoidable shear and stretching flow lead to
different localised orientations. This behavior can
be compensated only to a limited extent by
suitable choice of the position and shape of the
gate.

• Instead of stiffness and strength, the main


motives nowadays for using LCPs as engineering
materials are flowability, flame retardance,
dimensional stability at high temperatures, low
thermal expansion, resistance to chemicals and
rigidity with low wall thickness.

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LCP
LCP resins have
• Low outgassing even at extreme temperatures, a
factor that's critical for sensitive electronics
and optical applications.

• When it comes to precision, LCP resins have


excellent molding properties, provide the design
freedom for extremely small and intricate parts
with cross sections as thin as 0.25 mm.

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LCP – Machining &
Fabrication
• LCPs can be machined and joined with conventional
tools and machinery.

• They can be bonded with the usual adhesives for


polyesters

• They can be welded with ultrasonics.

• They can be metallized by spraying or


electroplating.

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LCP - recycling

• Up to 25% w/w scrap can be added to


virgin material.

• Material which has absorbed moisture must


be predried.

• Plasticizing cylinders can be purged with


PE-HD.

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LCP – Typical Applications
• Electrical & Electronic:
– Substrates for chips and printed circuits,
– Coil cores, sockets, encapsulations, Sensors,
– switches and other electronic components requiring
outstanding performance at elevated temperatures,
– Buffer films, couplings and connectors for fiber optics,
– Precision high temperature applications such as optical lens
components, sensors, LED housings, and motor components

• Miniaturized moldings (particularly for use in


aggressive environments),
• Under-bonnet components in contact with fuel,
• Numerous components in aircraft cabins, fuel systems,
radomes, electrical components.

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LCP – Typical Applications
• Drive belt pulleys, packings, bearings, seals,
• Accessories for oil drilling, pumps,
• Packings for distillation columns and
scrubbing towers,
• Measuring instruments,
• Surface mount devices
• Dual ovenable cookware
• Heat sinks containing graphite fibers

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LCP -Tradenames
• Ekce1, Ekonol (Carborundum Co., Metallic Div.,
US)
• Granlar (Montedison Inst. Guido, IT)
• Novoaccurate (Mitsubishi Chem. Ind., lP)
• Rodron (U nitika, lP)
• Ultrax (BASF, DE)
• Vectra (Hoechst, DE)
• Victrex (ICI, GB)
• Xydar (Amoco Performance Products

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Table -1 Guide values of properties of LCP
Properties Units LCP
Density g/cm3 1.4 -1.9
Water absorption (23°C, 24h) % 0.02-0.04
Mechanical
Tensile strength N/mm2 140-240
Elongation at break % 1.2-6.9
Tensile modulus of elasticity N/mm2 10000-40000
Notched impact strength (Izod) J/m 53-530
Thermal
Melting Point °C 275-330

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Table -1 Guide values of properties of LCP
Properties Units LCP
Service temperature in air without
°C 185-250
mechanical loading (long-term)

Heat deflection temperature °C 180-240

Coefficient of linear expansion between 0 and 50 °C K-1 0-25x10-6


Electrical
Volume resistivity Wcm 1015-1016
Dielectric constant 2.6-3.3
Dissipation factor, tan d 50 Hz 0.003-0.004
Dielectric strength kV/mm 31-43
Tracking resistance class C 1500-200
Fire performance to UL 94 class V-0

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