6/26/2020 4:33:36 PM

Improve Your UV Curables With Cellulose Esters

Eastman™ Cellulose Esters (CEs) are compatible in many common acrylate and styrene monomers that are used in UV curable coatings and inks.  When used in UV curable applications CEs provide improved flow & leveling, enhanced gloss and improved pigment dispersion & orientation.  They can also help reduce shrinkage during cure.

The Market for UV Curables is Expanding

UV curable coatings and inks are experiencing rapid growth and adoption due to the many advantages they offer. Higher productivity due to near instantaneous curing makes the UV printing and coating process more economical. The lack of heat used in curing is ideal for heat sensitive materials such as plastics. In addition UV coatings and inks can have very tough surface properties.  For all of these reasons and more UV cured coatings and inks are a great option for a variety of applications. 

However, there are some drawbacks that one should consider when formulating a UV curable coating or ink.  The absence of solvent and speed of cure can lead to poor wetting, leveling, flow, and pigment dispersion.  Due to the high cross link density UV coatings and inks can also shrink upon cure causing adhesion issues.  Ultimately these issues can lead to a coating or ink with sub optimal appearance and performance.

Why Use Cellulose Esters? The Benefits are Twofold

Improved Appearance

  • Increased flow and leveling for fewer surface defects
  • Better gloss and reflection
  • Optimal metallic and pearlescent flake alignment
  • Improved pigment dispersion

Better Performance

  • Reduced shrinkage, fewer adhesion failures
  • Increased hardness and abrasion resistance
  • Improved weathering and chemical resistance
  • FDA approved for direct and indirect food contact

Eastman™ Cellulose esters (CE’s) with high butyryl content will dissolve in and tolerate common UV curable monomers such as styrene and acrylates. When formulated into UV curable applications such as inks and OPVs, CE's help improve the flow and leveling leading to surfaces with fewer defects and higher gloss. CEs will improve pigment orientation and flop allowing for brightly colored metallic and pearlescent finishes.  CE's also act as fillers to help reduce the shrinkage of coatings and inks upon cross link and cure.  In addition, Eastman’s cGMP compliance allow ink and coating formulations for direct and indirect food contact. 

Recommended Grades

Cellulose Esters should be dissolved in monomer prior to being added to the formulation.  Typical additive use levels are 0.1 - 2.0 wt% .  In some instances addition levels as low as 0.1 - 0.5 wt% have shown an improvement in formulation properties.


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