InterviewSolvay CEO hopeful about specialty polymers’ aerospace future

12 July 2013 21:34  [Source: ICIS news]

By Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS)--Advanced specialty polymers are on the cusp of breaking through in the aerospace sector, the chief executive of Solvay said on Friday.

"Aerospace is a key target market for us, and we are just starting to see the development of new specialty polymer applications," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Belgium-based Solvay.

Clamadieu spoke at an event featuring the Solar Impulse, an ultra-lightweight solar powered plane, at JFK Airport in New York.

Solvay produced a number of components for the Solar Impulse, including the solar cell encapsulants, and is one of its lead sponsors.

"We are optimistic about new products still to be brought to market in aerospace and automotive, so we see our specialty polymers business as a jewel," he added.

Solvay's specialty polymers include fluorinated polymers as well as certain polyamides.

Lightweight specialty polymers will have applications inside the cabin of aircraft, such as in overhead luggage compartments, rather than structural components, Clamadieu said.

"We are working on foam applications of some of our polymers for different types of parts that can be used on the inside of the cabin," Clamadieu said.

In the automotive sector, there is a greater challenge in the penetration of specialty polymers because of costs and the use of metal in high volumes, he noted.

"But for electric vehicles … it is a different concept that could open up opportunities for specialty polymers," Clamadieu said.

By: Joseph Chang
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