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Umicore offers an easy drop-in replacement for traditional accelerators based on cobalt carboxylates

News International-French

17 Sep 2013

Umicore developed an innovative cobalt-based accelerator named Umicore ECOS ND15, which is a non-hazardous alternative to traditional cobalt carboxylates.

Current cobalt-based products that are frequently used as accelerators for the curing of unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) and gelcoats are increasingly under pressure due to the uncertainty about their future hazard classification. The implementation of REACH in Europe means that more hazard data are becoming available than ever before, including data on cobalt carboxylates such as cobalt bis (2-ethylhexanoate), also known as cobalt octoate. The conclusions from these studies result in hazard classifications, which are communicated with the Safety DataSheet, and in warning symbols on the product label. Eventually, they may trigger specific legislation imposing restrictions on the use of such compounds. As an example, for cobalt compounds that are classified as lung carcinogens category 1B, the concentration of cobalt that should not be exceeded in mixtures may become as low as 0.01% cobalt (expressed as cobalt metal content). It is clear that this would jeopardize the use of cobalt carboxylates in inks, coatings and UPR, since the active cobalt concentration required is normally higher than 0.01%.

Umicore developed an innovative cobalt-based accelerator named Umicore ECOS ND15, which is a non-hazardous alternative to traditional cobalt carboxylates.  In this product, the cobalt is embedded in a polymer structure.

Although polymers are exempted from REACH registration, a full toxicological study has been carried out by an independent institute, that has shown that ECOS ND15 is a non hazardous substance for all endpoints tested.

ECOS ND15, produced in the Umicore plant in Bruges, Belgium, is an ideal drop-in replacement for existing cobalt compounds. It has proven to be an effective catalyst for the acceleration of UPR and gelcoats. One example is given hereunder,where the gel time is plotted as a function of the amount of accelerator used in a standard medium-reactive orthophthalic polyester resin for vacuum infusion.