Intertek supports Sappi’s development of novel materials

Photo: Sappi

Intertek, a leading provider of quality solutions worldwide has successfully completed an assessment of Sappi’s new cellulose reinforced polypropylene material, in order to determine its suitability for processing and automotive or consumer product applications.

As a global forest product leader focused on dissolving wood pulp, paper pulp and paper-based solutions, Sappi is strategically committed to maximize the value of wood derived products by exploring new possibilities and innovations with the materials now used to make paper. Recently, Sappi has developed a new material by using cellulose from trees to create a cellulose reinforced polypropylene. This material has potential applications in a variety of markets including automotive, consumer electronics and furniture.

Intertek polymer engineers assessed the new material by using their laboratory polymer processing facility to show that it is easily processed and can be made into “life-sized” items such as automotive components. These were then tested to explore their properties. The test results demonstrated good mouldability as well as high rigidity with low density, low odour, good colouring possibilities and good scratch resistance. The assessment benefitted Sappi by providing critical insight on the material’s performance which has helped to reduce risk of product failure and also enabled initial customer trials to be conducted, leading to rapid market introduction following a very short development period.

Intertek has entered into a collaboration with the Symbio team, part of a corporate start-up initiative within Sappi, to support their product development of next generation cellulose reinforced materials which are already in development. Intertek will continue to play a supporting role by providing testing and polymer processing expertise (injection moulding and extrusion) to assist Sappi develop new materials with improved impact resistance.