What Is A Masterbatch?

A masterbatch is a concentrated blend of additives incorporated into a base polymer designed to provide specific properties that enhance the processing, performance, and appearance of a final plastic product. Masterbatches include additives, such as processing aids, antistats, light stabilizers, fire retardants, fillers, and colorants.

A masterbatch, most often, consists of plastic pellets that have been processed to include high concentrates of the chosen additives. The masterbatch is then added in small amounts to a large volume of polymer material to create the desired final plastic. Although plastic pellets are most often the vehicle for carrying the additives, other carriers are available as an option depending on what is most compatible with the final polymer. These options include powders and liquids.

Processing Masterbatches

During masterbatch processing, high loads of additives, fillers, and pigments are incorporated into the resin carrier. This becomes challenging when the additive is a one that is difficult to disperse. Manufacturers require the additives to completely blend and integrate homogenously with the carrier.

Problems occur when:

  • Masterbatch dispersion is not good – The masterbatch is not fully mixed with the resin. This means that the additives are streaked or clumped in the carrier and not completely blended in.
  • Additives are not accurately measured – This means that there is too much or too little of the concentrated materials. Take for example, the addition of colorants; too much or too little will deliver a very different color.
  • The carrier is not the right one – Sometimes, the resin that is chosen is not compatible with the additives that are required. Different types of resins have different characteristics. The performance of the resin and its compatibility with the additives will be different. The wrong carrier material will alter the performance of the additives.

These are just some challenges that can develop during the masterbatch process. And there are many more. The experts at the Polymers Technology Center know how to avoid or solve problems when they occur. They assist manufacturers in choosing the right carrier, testing measurements, and homogenously mixing additives.  They know the effect that temperature variations can have on a material; they know when to increase or decrease the temperature of the equipment. They know the effect residence time has on the material, as well as many other considerations.

With their many years of experience, the engineers at the Polymers Technology Center have had to overcome many obstacles in providing the quality results and products plastics manufacturers require.