It’s not often that we will single out a material for special consideration, but given some recent thermoforming test results, we think HYTAC C1R deserves some love.
C1R is a toughened copolymer thermoset syntactic foam modified to provide high friction and the highest durability of any thermoset syntactic foam. Relatively new to the market (introduced in 2012) it was initially used for deep draw or zero draft application areas where high friction was needed. What we have discovered through our trials and through conversations with processors is that C1R offers benefits beyond deep draw. Easy to machine, very durable and easy to modify/polish, it is a powerful material that toolmakers and thermoformers are starting to use in greater quantities.
We ran thermoforming trials with 0.055” (1.39mm) thick PP sheet clarified with Milliken Millad NX 8000 at uVu Technologies to determine if HYTAC-C1R plug assists could provide all the benefits of syntactic foam without any loss in optical properties compared to 2 types of solid polymer, Ultem (high-end) and Delrin (low-end). The C1R plug was highly polished with Novus #2 polish. The part design was a PP drinking cup.
We looked at several variables and data points including clarity and material distribution, arguably the 2 most important criteria for thermoformers running clear parts. What we saw was that the increased cup weight and minimum sidewall thickness obtained with HYTAC-C1R resulted in 31% higher cup crush strength compared to Ultem.
Why measure cup strength? As we’ve written about before, crush resistance is extremely important for thermoforming. The container needs to survive its intended use without any signs of failure. For example, a clear drink cup needs to be rigid enough to avoid buckling and spillage when the lid is applied. A berry basket needs to be strong enough to survive stacking of the filled containers to prevent damaging the fragile contents.