Potential solutions to the PA 6.6 supply shortage

As the industry finds itself in the grip of a serious PA 6.6 shortage, plastics processors and brand owners are struggling to keep the manufacturing supply chain moving. Tony Harrison (Director Global TSAD at ALBIS), takes a look at the options which could be considered for drop-in solutions or new projects.

The information below provides a general overview on which polymers could be considered as potential alternatives to PA 6.6. However, understanding the detailed requirements of each application is key when thinking about which material to choose. Our disclaimer applies.

1. PA 6

The nearest alternative to PA 6.6 is its “twin”, PA 6. Whilst there are some important differences between the two polymers, there are many similarities which make PA 6 the first option to consider.

Did You Know?

• Glass filled PA 6 and PA 6.6 grades have very similar mechanical properties in the freshly moulded state!

• Increasing the glass fibre content by approximately 5% in PA 6 compounds results in similar mechanical performance as PA66 in the conditioned state!

• Because PA 6 absorbs more moisture than PA 6.6, it is much tougher and more flexible in the conditioned state - but changes its dimensions more than PA 6.6!

2. PBT

Renowned for its excellent electrical properties, PBT could be considered in E&E and under the hood applications – also in applications where flame retardancy is a main requirement. Due to its higher tensile modulus (stiffness), reinforced grades of PBT with about 10% less glass fibre would have a similar modulus to their PA 6.6 equivalents, although long term contact with hot water is a limitation.

3. Recycled PA 6.6

Based on high quality post industrial recycled PA6.6 feedstocks, these products come with a full technical specification at near to prime quality.

4. (Recycled) Carbon Fibre Reinforced PP and PA 6

The beauty of these products is that they offer the same mechanical performance as traditional engineering compounds, whilst delivering an overall lower part cost and up to 30% lower density than their glass fibre counterparts, resulting in a huge reduction in weight.

5. PPA

Polyphthalamide is a candidate where high and / or long term temperature resistance, low moisture absorption and high dimensional stability are the drivers. Available in glass fibre and mineral filled grades, as well as flame retardant and increased hydrolysis resistant types, PPA could be used in E&E and under the hood applications.

6. PA 6.10

Renowned for its very low moisture absorption and dimensional stability, PA 6.10 also offers similar mechanical performance to its PA 6.6 cousin used in high temperature under the hood applications. It’s also based largely on sustainable (naturally occurring) feed stock!

7. PPS

With its outstanding chemical resistance, extremely low moisture uptake, inherent flame retardancy, coupled with its high stiffness and extremely high temperature resistance, PPS is a highly suitable in under the hood, hydrolysis resistant and E&E applications.