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Crodamide

Slip

additives

for

film

extrusion

Abstract
A description of slip additives is followed by a discussion
of the factors involved in evaluating them for polyolefin
films. Data is provided to show how the activity of several

slip additives, including combinations with anti-block and


other additives, affect the slip of polyolefin films:

Introduction
Slip for plastic films is defined as low surface friction
(expressed as Coefficient of Friction, COF) which permits
a layer of film to slide easily over another layer of film or
over machine surfaces in film-fabricating and packing
equipment. To obtain satisfactory slip, most resins require
the incorporation of slip additives, which are derived from
naturally occurring vegetable oils and animal fats.The
selection of the fatty component is influenced by its ability
to reduce the surface friction along with the speed and
stability of this effect, odour and flavour considerations,
colour stability, vegetable vs. animal source and price. The
fatty materials all have an even number of carbon atoms;
some are saturated while others have some unsaturation
(see table 1). Not all of these amides are readily available
for commercial purposes and none are commercially
available in a pure form i.e. with only one fatty
component.
O
NH 2

erucamide (13-cis-docosenamide)
O
NH 2

oleomide (9-cis-octadecenamide)

stearamide (octadecanamide)

NH 2
O
NH 2

behenamide (docosanamide)

Table 1 - Primary fatty amides

Fatty acid amides are produced by the reaction of a fatty


acid with either ammonia or an amine. If reacted with
ammonia, then a primary amide results. Common primary
amides are shown in Table 1. Typically, fatty acids with 22
carbons are derived from vegetable oils, usually high erucic
rape oil or crambe. These, once split into the component
fatty acids, are fractionated to increase the purity of the
C22 fraction in the feedstock for erucamide
manufacture. Hydrogenation of the fatty acid gives
behenic acid and hence behenamide. Fatty acids with 18
carbons are usually derived from animal fats although
there are vegetable sources for these materials.

In animal derived fats, there is usually a balance between


saturated (stearic) and mono-unsaturated (oleic) fatty
acids, which can be separated by fractional crystallisation.

Coefficient of friction

Adam Maltby
Plastics Applications
Manager
Croda Universal Ltd
Oak Road Hull
HU6 7PH
United Kingdom

Time after extrusion

Figure 1 - Schematic diagram of the blooming of amides to the


surface of the plastic film

Amides tend to be compatible with the molten polymer


but migrate to the surface of the solidifying polymer. The
degree of incompatibility increases with decreasing
polarity of the polymer. Hence oleamide will be more
compatible with EVA copolymer than polyethylene.
However once the solubility has been exceeded the amide
will migrate to the surface through amorphous regions of
the polymer. Once the surface is completely covered a
marked difference in the surface properties of the
polymer will be apparent e.g. a sharp drop in COF
(see Figure 1).
The most commercially important slip additives are
erucamide and oleamide. It is generally considered
that oleamide blooms to the surface faster, thus
providing quicker slip development and is a lower cost
material. The advantages of erucamide over oleamide
include lower volatility, superior colour and heat stability,
improved organoleptic properties, a lower final coefficient
of friction and it is derived exclusively from a vegetable
source. Stearamide and behenamide may also be used
in specialist applications as they provide good anti-block
performance with some improvement of slip properties
while maintaining high film clarity. They are often found in
combination with erucamide to provide both slip and
anti-block.

Slip

Experimental materials and


procedures
Three polyolefins were used in these tests: (1) high
pressure, low density polyethylene (LDPE); (2) hexene
copolymer linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE); and
polypropylene homopolymer (PP). The basic
characteristics of these resins are described in table 2.
Resin

MFI*

Density

Die Temperature (C)

LDPE
LLDPE
PP homopolymer

2
1
8

0.923
0.918
0.905

170
230
220

extruder (35 mm diameter and L/D = 24) using a blown


film line with a 50 mm diameter annual die (1 mm die gap)
and a blow up ratio (BUR) of 2.5 to provide film with a
thickness of 35 m. The PP film was cast on a lab scale
flat film line fitted with a 50 mm wide flex-lip die and a die
gap of 0.9 mm to produce film that was 40 m thick. The
die temperatures for all the resins are shown in table 2.
Load cell attached to
tensile tester (5N)

for

* ASTM D-1238

Table 2 - Characteristics of resins


The additives include: refined erucamide (Crodamide ER),
refined oleamide (Crodamide OR), refined stearamide
(Crodamide SR), refined behenamide (Crodamide BR), low
porosity synthetic silica with a 2 m average particle size
(S2), and non-porous talc (Specialty Minerals ABT2500 2.3m average particle size).
Masterbatches (3% w/w) were prepared by mixing the
additive with the polymer powder and homogenising the
mixture by tumble blending. This was followed by
extruding each blend at 180C on a lab scale twin screw
extruder to provide a strand, which was then pelletised.
These masterbatch pellets were added to the base resin
to provide the desired formulations. The final blends of
LDPE or LLDPE were extruded with a single screw

Polymer film

Sled

film
Figure 2 - Schematic diagram of apparatus used to
measure kinetic co-efficient friction (COF)
The COF measurements were made according to ASTM
D1894, schematically shown in figure 2. Blown film was
tested outside to outside surface, while the PP cast films
were tested airside to airside. Data presented here is for
the kinetic friction value.

Results and discussion


For all three resins, oleamide (OR) provided a faster
response than erucamide (ER) in lowering of the COF
(figures 3-5); this is probably because OR is a smaller
molecule and thus can migrate to the surface faster to
provide the slip (1). However, there was little difference in
the COF obtained with the two amides after about 600
hours, although the COF of the LDPE was slightly lower
for ER and the COF of the PP was slightly lower for the
OR additive.
The influence of inorganic anti-blocking agents on the
COF obtained with LDPE film - over a 360 hour period is shown in figure 6. Silica or talc by themselves only
reduced the COF by 35 to 50%. (Radosta and Riley (2)
also reported a 35% reduction of COF, when measured
several weeks after extrusion of the film, through the use

additives

of 1000 ppm of surface treated talc with a particle


distribution designed for LDPE). The kinetic COF=0.1 for
500 ppm of ER is probably comparable to the static COF=
0.15 obtained by Botros for 1500 ppm Amide II added to
LDPE (3). The COF of ER blends was actually increased
by the addition of silica and at the higher concentration of
silica the presence of ER seemed to have no effect.
However, there did appear to be some synergy when ER
and talc were combined, particularly in regards to the
more rapid development of slip.
Tests on three different slip additives (1800 ppm) and two
different sizes of synthetic silica (1800 ppm) with PP
showed that the substitution of 2 m silica in place of 4
m silica reduced the COF of the stearamide blend from
0.45 to 0.35 at 500 hours (figures 7 and 8).

extrusion

1.2

0.6

0.5

CoF

CoF

1000 ppm ER
1000 ppm OR

0.4

0.8

0.6
SR
ER
OR
BR

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.2
00

0
0.1

10
Time (hours, log scale)

100

0.1

1000

Figure 3 - Comparison of the effects of primary amides


on the slip (COF) of LDPE

10
Time (hours, log scale)

100

1000

Figure 4 - Comparison of the effects of oleamide and


erucamide on the slip (COF) of LLDPE

1.0

1.0
Blank

1800ppm ER
1800ppm OR

0.8

500ppm ER

0.8

1000ppm S2
500ppm ER/
1000ppm S2

0.6

500ppm ER/
300ppm S2

CoF

CoF

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.2

1000ppm
talc only
500ppm ER/
1000ppm talc

0
0
0

0
0

200

400
Times (hours after extrusion)

600

Figure 5 - Comparison of the effects of oleamide and


erucamide on the slip (COF) of PP homopolymer (which contains 1800 ppm of 2m
silica, S2).

0.1

10
Time (hours, log scale)

100

1000

Figure 6 - The effect of additive combinations (talc or 2


m silica with erucamide) on the slip of LDPE.

Conclusions

1.0
erucamide 500ppm in LDPE
erucamide 1000ppm in LLDPE
erucamide 1800ppm/PP homopolymer

0.8

0.6
CoF

Amide slip additives have varying effectiveness in reducing


the COF of different polyolefins (both in the initial
development of slip and in the final slip characteristics).
Anti-block additives can have significant effects on the
slip additives, in some cases they have a synergy which
gives a better result while in other cases there is a
marked increase in COF which would reduce the desired
slip properties of the film. The results emphasise that the
processor must evaluate the complete additive system
when making a decision on the optimum materials for
the application.

0.4

0.2

0
0.1

10
Time (hours, log scale)

100

1000

Figure 7 - Variation of slip propagation of erucamide in


LDPE, LLDPE and PP homo-polymer

References
Certificate no.
FM09277
Croda Universal Ltd

Certificate no.
EMS38741
Croda Universal Ltd

1. Briscoe, B J et al, 1973.Wear 25:393-7l.


2. Radosta, J A and W D Riley, 1991. Treated Talc as an
Effective Anti-Block for LDPE Blown Film, J Plas Film
& Shtg, 7:247.

3. Botros, M G 1995. Factors Affecting Antiblock


Performance of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Copolymers,
J Plas Film & Shtg, 11:326.

Based on a paper originally presented at the 1996 Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference September 8-12, Boston, MA. (c) TAPPI 1996.

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email sales@croda-universal.com
website www.croda.universal.com

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Tel +1 281 282 0022 Fax +1 281 282 0024
email usasales@croda-universal.com