In 1983 microporous films were developed in Japan for the hygiene market. the microporous films quickly developed to become a large majority of the product lines in infant and adult health care. The use of mineral fillers it the fabrication process of breathable films has allowed a considerable development of these type of films, especially for hygienic films. For the breathable films Omya, the world-wide leader of CaCO3 developed a special range of CaCO3 fillers. the more common way to produce microporous films is to use a 43 52 % CaCO3 by weight polyolefin ompound and to produce a stretch film which will present micropores in the structure. In the microporous films the water vapour migrates through the film by following the conduit build thanks to the geometrical arrangement of the CaCO3 particles, as well as the film providing a barrier to liquids. The water vapour transmission ratio (WVTR) will be improved by playing on the thickness of the film, or i.e. on the composition of the polymers, the filler content of CaCO3 or the choice of CaCO3. The microporous films have two main outlets: The hygiene application with diapers films for infants, sanitary napkins or adult incontinence or construction application for house wraps, wall covering and under-tile roofing films. Depending upon the application, the tensile strength elongation and tear strength values are predefined for the non laminated films. Far a constant Thickness of films, the choice of the resin but especially the CaCO3 choice is fundamental in deciding the final values. Good acid, alkali and UV resistance is usually required for films used in the construction industry. Selecting the right polyolefin and the appropriate CaCO3 ensure these properties.

To fulfil the films requirements of which CaCO3 is playing the most important role, the choice of CaCO3 is very determinant. This CaCO3 will influence: the visual aspect, the colour, the WVTR and the mechanical properties. The average market growth is estimated at 5 % for building application and approx. 3 % for hygienic activities. In 2001 the replacement level of the traditional films in the hygienic sector through microporous films amounts to 53 % in Europe, 38 % in Asia and 51 % in the USA. The growth of the microporous films market is essential derived from infant diapers. Female care as well as adult incontinence should be mainly represented by microporous film. The global tonnage of microporous films should amount in 5 years to approx. 400000 tons, even though today it is only 175000 tons.

Morieras, G.

in Addcon World, International Plastics Additives and Modifiers Conference, 7 ; 10

Addcon World, International Plastics Additives and Modifiers Conference, 7

Rapra Technology , Shawbury; 2001

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