patent to two St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. researchers for a process to produce specialty polymers
and plastics using the company’s Therminol® VP-3 heat-transfer fluid. Jerry L. Brown, retired, from
Solutia’s Anniston, Ala., plant, where Therminol products are manufactured; and Patrick P.B. Notte,
a research chemist at the company’s European headquarters and technical center in Belgium, received
US Patent No. 7,091,309 for their process.
According to Solutia, Therminol VP-3, with its boiling point of 243°C, enables vapor phase
heat transfer at lower temperatures than is practical when using conventional biphenyl/diphenyl
oxide eutectic fluids. Textile applications include spinning or processing of nylon 6 or specialty
polyester-based polymers. The fluid can be used at continuous operating temperatures of up to 330°C
in the liquid or vapor phase, and it crystallizes at 2.4°C. The company reports the fluid is easy
to handle and has a milder odor than other vapor-phase organic heat-transfer fluids.
The new patented process offers a commercially viable method for the manufacture of
temperature-sensitive polymers and plastics, solving problems that previously made such a method
impractical, according to Solutia. Although the patent covers a variety of chemistries, Therminol
VP-3 is the preferred chemistry, the company reports; adding it also is more environmentally
friendly than traditional fluids, offers improved health and safety attributes, and is more
economical to use.
October 10, 2006