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Solvin launches NANOVIN®, a vinyl nanocomposite ‘smart material’


Innovation opens new commercial opportunities

November 27, 2006 - Solvay announces today that its vinyls joint venture in Europe, SolVin, is launching NanoVin®, an innovative nanocomposite combining polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and nanoparticles of clay. This specialty product displays exceptional properties in terms of plasticity, viscosity and flow. These distinctive rheological properties make NanoVin® a so-called ‘smart material’, capable of sensing and reacting to changes in its environment (see Notes to the Editors below).

More specifically, NanoVin® is a ready-to-use product suitable for PVC paste applications, which require non-dripping and shear-thinning properties – meaning that the viscosity of the material decreases when a shear stress is applied to it and recovers a high value when the stress is released. These applications include for instance bodywork in the automotive industry as well as so-called thick coatings, such as artificial leather.

NanoVin® was developed at Solvay Research & Technology, the Group’s R&D campus in Neder-over-Heembeek (Belgium). The product is now entering into a pre-commercial phase, with a pilot production unit located in Jemeppe (Belgium).

“Research and innovation are feeding Solvay’s strategy of sustainable and profitable growth,” commented Michel Tchapian, Paste PVC Business Manager. “We succeeded in creating a smart material that opens up new commercial opportunities, thanks to our work on the combination of vinyl with nanoparticles of clay,” he said.

SolVin combines the competences of Solvay and BASF in the European vinyls sector. The synergies achieved in know-how and organization, the complementarities of product ranges as well as upstream integration have built up SolVin as a leader on the PVC and PVDC markets. The joint venture has operations in France, Germany, Spain and the Benelux countries and a total annual production capacity of 1.3 million tons of PVC, with nearly 2000 employees. Solvay owns 75% of SolVin and BASF, the remaining 25%.

SOLVAY is an international chemical and pharmaceutical Group with headquarters in Brussels. It employs some 30,000 people in 50 countries. In 2005 its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.6 billion generated by its three activity sectors: Chemicals, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. SOLVAY (Euronext : SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR) is listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Brussels. Details are available at


The Solvay group is one of the world’s leading vinyls producer, ranking second in Europe and third globally. In addition to SolVin in Europe, the Group’s activities in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other products of the vinyl chain span across Asia and Latin America, through the affiliates Vinythai in Thailand and Solvay Indupa in Argentina and Brazil.

Nanocomposites are materials that are created by introducing nanoparticles into a macroscopic sample material. The process can drastically modify and improve the electrical and thermal conductivity as well as the mechanical strength properties and viscosity of the original material.

Nanoparticles are microscopic particles whose size is measured in nanometers (one billionth of a meter). It is defined as a particle with at least one dimension inferior to 100 nanometers.

A shear thinning material is one in which viscosity decreases with the rate of shear - i.e. as stress is applied in parallel to the surface of the material. This property is found in certain complex solutions, such as paint, nail polish, tomato ketchup and whipped cream.


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