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Jan. 21, 2021
Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray Leverages Proprietary NanoalloyⓇ Technology to Create Flexible and Toughened Polymer Offering Diverse Applications

Tokyo, Japan, January 21, 2021 – Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it has created a new polymer that retains the outstanding thermal resistance, rigidity, and strength of polyamide 6 (PA6) while delivering a bending fatigue limit that is 15-fold that of conventional polymers. Prospective applications for such exceptional durability include automobiles, appliances, and sporting goods. Toray looks to initiate full-fledged sample work in fiscal year 2021 while cultivating applications in diverse industrial materials fields.

PA6 is an engineering plastic whose diverse uses include automobile engine compartments and appliance housings. PA6 resin incorporates a flexible elastomer (see note 1) to resist fatigue and optimize the lifespan. The tradeoff, however, is that this lowers PA6’s thermal resistance, rigidity, and strength. The challenge for many years has thus been to develop a new material that offers all of these desirable properties.

Toray focused on polyrotaxane (see note 2), which has a sliding molecular bond, as a polymer whose structure moves in response to external forces. The company endeavored to balance the inherent attributes of PA6 and fatigue resistance by finely dispersing polyrotaxane in the resin.

Polyrotaxane (shown in white) dispersed in PA6
Toray drew on proprietary Nanoalloy® microstructure control technology to maximize the effectiveness of polyrotaxane by dispersing it in the 10 nanometer crystals of PA6. The resulting flexible stress-dispersion mechanism led to the creation of the new polymer. Tests at the SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility in Japan confirmed that the new polymer suppresses changes in the crystal structure of PA6 when subjected to external forces.

Toray will fully leverage its core capabilities in synthetic organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, biotechnology, and nanotechnology to materialize its corporate philosophy of contributing to society by creating new value.
Notes
1.Elastomer
The name is derived from elastic polymer, describing a material that recovers its initial shape after extensive stretching.
2.Polyrotaxane
This is a supramolecular polymer with a beaded or necklace-like structure, its molecules consisting of strings and rings.
3.Nanoalloy®
This Toray-developed microstructure control technology dramatically improves polymer properties by minutely dispersing multiple polymers on a nanometric scale.
4.SPring-8
Synchrotron radiation is the electromagnetic radiation emitted from accelerating charged particles radially, and features high brilliance and directivity. SPring-8 in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, conducts experiments as one of the world’s largest synchrotron radiation facilities.