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INNER CIRCLE AND ASAHI/AMERICA: A YEAR IN REVIEW

REFLECTING ON A YEAR OF RESEARCH, SOLUTIONS, AND EDUCATION IN THERMOPLASTICS

Contributed by Shane McDaniel, Business Development Team Leader

As we publish our closing issue of the Inner Circle in 2023, it seems timely and appropriate to reflect on the key contributions to this year's volume and the impact made. The year has been marked by notable progress, from highly technical discussions on the finer aspects of polypropylene (PP) to revolutionary shifts in energy strategies.

Advancements in Polypropylene: Navigating the Complexities

Polypropylene, a versatile plastic with applications spanning multiple industries, took the spotlight in 2023. Josh Goldberg's article emphasized the importance of understanding PP's physical properties, which can vary significantly based on crystalline content and structure. Exploring isotactic PP (iPP) crystalline structures, including alpha and beta variations, brought insights into properties like impact strength and elasticity. Notably, the choice between homopolymer and copolymer PP proved significant, with random copolymer PP emerging as a preferred option for its higher impact strength and better stress crack resistance.

Discussions surrounding PP delved deep into its complexities, focusing on crystalline content, structure, and critical considerations when selecting the most suitable type for specific applications. The figure to the right highlights differences in isotactic PP crystalline structures and reinforces these considerations' importance in the selection process.

Notably, Josh has recently been appointed to Plastics Pipe Institute's (PPI) Technical Committee Chair. As Technical Committee Chair, Josh will lead PPI's Technical Steering Committee, where he will continue to apply his exceptional knowledge and expertise related to polymer science and its applications. Read the full press release regarding Josh's appointment here.

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P represents polypropylene monomer, and E represents polyethylene monomer

Diverse Applications of Performance Plastics: From Food and Beverage to Precision Flow Control

While Josh looked at the complexities behind polymer science, Business Development Manager Pat Higgins showcased the diverse applications of performance plastics in the food and beverage industry. Pat showed us how Asahi/America products can play an increasingly crucial role in fluid transport, addressing needs in drinking water, wastewater, and chemicals. Using plastics in the craft beer industry for fermentation further underscored the material's versatility.

Valve Applications: The Critical Role of Material Selection

In valve applications, Asahi/America took a lead role in emphasizing the importance of material selection. Confidence in this aspect is crucial for ensuring a long service life, and Asahi/America's approach involves chemical resistance ratings based on rigorous lab tests and real-world application testing. The advisory against relying on general guidance from other sources is accompanied by a diverse range of valve solutions catering to specific chemical applications. Specialty materials like EPDM and FKM-F provide resistance to specific chemicals, ensuring a broad spectrum of options for different chemical compatibility needs.

Asahi/America's Valve and Actuation team manager, Rob Cloutier, also educated us on some of the finer points of rotary electric actuation and multiturn valves, including a notable addition of the Series 19 MultiPack® rotary electric actuator, designed for multiturn and non-rising stem valves, promising precision flow control and reliability

Series 19 MAV no wire_edited.png

New Series 19 MultiPack® electric

actuator

Series 19 MAV Modulating Top with power

Innovation in Clean Technologies: Clean-In-Place Systems and Hydrogen-Based Economy

Clean-in-place (CIP) systems emerged as a critical focus in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical facilities, streamlining equipment cleaning without disassembly. The use of chemicals like sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid marked a step forward in efficient and sustainable cleaning processes.

Hydrogen: Product Certifications and Standards

On a national scale, the United States outlined ambitious plans to transition to a hydrogen-based economy by 2060, with the Department of Energy leading the strategy. This shift reflects a commitment to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Mark Gore explored some certifications and specifications, including a tested H2Ready product in PE-100RC.

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H2ready® certification on our Chem Proline® (AgruChem) PE100-RC piping system

This year, we also witnessed advancements in landfill management, with a spotlight on thermoplastics like PVDF and PP. These materials play a critical role in modern landfill practices, contributing to energy generation from landfill gas. Asahi/America has a strong history of critical application services in the landfill space with success in simple applications such as small-bore ball valves, chemical-resistant piping, and highly-critical double containment piping with leak detection technology. Some other common applications require massive 36" diameter butterfly valves. The integration of thermoplastics in this process demonstrated a sustainable approach to waste management, aligning with broader environmental goals.

AA Valve Landfill.png

Conclusion

In conclusion, 2023 has been a year marked by exploration, innovation, and progress in thermoplastic materials and technologies. Each aspect that Asahi/America's technical team focused on contributes to a future shaped by sustainability, efficiency, and adaptability: from the intricacies of polypropylene to the diverse applications of performance plastics and the advancements in clean technologies. As we enter a new year, these developments pave the way for continued growth and transformation across many of the industries that affect our day-to-day business and on an even more granular level, our personal lives.

I want to sincerely thank each of our contributors and technical team who dedicated time to writing these articles. Stay tuned to Asahi/America's Inner Circle in 2024, when we will feature new articles and applications. We will continue to leverage real-world product application expertise and offer insights into what the future holds for the thermoplastics field in 2024. If there are any specific topics or questions that you or a member of your team would like to learn about, related to thermoplastic valves, actuators, or piping systems, please let us know! We'd love to hear from you and address the questions and topics that our audience values.

As we head into the busy holiday season, we just want to thank you all for your time, attention and thoughtful questions you raised in 2023. From all of us at Asahi/America, we wish you and your families a warm and happy holiday season. We are looking forward to working with you in 2024 and beyond.

Cheers!

Inner Circle

Do you have specific questions about polypropylene or polymers in general? We want to hear from you! If we include your question in our future articles, we’ll send you an Asahi t-shirt as a thank you! Ask your questions here.

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