Research from NOVA Chemicals Yields New Solutions for Polyethylene Selection, Testing and Applications Development

Calgary, Alberta, Canada (March 23, 2015) – NOVA Chemicals Corporation (NOVA Chemicals) today announced findings from research conducted at the company’s Centre for Performance Applications and Centre for Applied Research that have the potential to impact polyethylene (PE) resin selection, testing and applications development. This work demonstrates the company’s commitment to building on its focused expertise in polyethylene, and to delivering greater value to its customers through collaborative product and applications development work.

Researchers from NOVA Chemicals will deliver their findings at ANTEC® 2015, the annual technical conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The conference takes place March 23-25 in Orlando, Florida., during NPE2015.

“Our polyethylene expertise and the applied research we carry out allow us to add to the industry’s body of knowledge and help our customers succeed in their businesses,” said Liz Karbashewski, manager of polyethylene product and catalyst research, NOVA Chemicals. “We are thrilled to share some of our research with our peers at this year’s ANTEC conference.”

New Methodology for Evaluating Plastic Caps and Closures

The deformation resistance of a plastic closure under different stresses, temperatures and times is an important consideration when evaluating plastic caps and closure applications. However, it can be difficult to study the deformation properties of plastic closures due to their complex geometries and generally small dimensions.

This challenge is addressed in “Deformation Measurement Modeling and Morphology Study for HDPE Caps and Closures,” by XiaoChuan (Alan) Wang, senior research scientist, NOVA Chemicals. This study describes a new methodology that provides a rapid and cost-effective means for predicting closure deformation, comparing resins using the same closure design and potentially correlating with closure performance.

Dr. Wang will present his methodology at 9:30 a.m., Monday, March 23.

Better Understanding of Easy-Open Seal Technology Leads to Enhanced Barrier, Lower Cost, Downgauged Film

Many pouches or bags for dry goods, like cereal and crackers, are difficult to peel apart without tearing and damaging the bag. Also, a low moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) is required for this type of packaging to maximize shelf life of the product.

Prompted by a customer seeking to better understand easy open / peelable seal technology, Dan Falla, technical service specialist, NOVA Chemicals, evaluated a number of different peelable seal formulations and the use of a high moisture barrier sHDPE in the study, “Peelable Seal Films with Enhanced Moisture Barrier Properties for Flexible Packaging Applications.”

While previous studies have limited the qualitative measurement of peelability to the laboratory cold seal strength test, this study used a variety of methodologies and testing scenarios to simulate performance under real-world conditions, from the filling of material into a pouch, to general packaging integrity. The results delivered an enhanced, lower-cost, downgauged film structure. Mr. Falla will present his study at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 24.

Creating Tailor-Made Film Properties

Co-extrusion enables the combination of attributes of different polymeric resins to create films having unique and tailor-made properties. In addition to the resins used in the film structure, the properties of co-extruded films depend upon factors such as film gauge, layer ratios and the amount of blend component used in the layers.

The ability to predict and model film properties was the focus of the study, “Predicting Physical and Optical Properties of Co-Extruded Blown Films Using Design of Experiment Based Model.” The result is an easy-to-use model that can predict physical and optical properties of three layer co-extruded films. This model will allow customers to tailor-make films based on their needs, optimizing properties and material cost.

Norm Aubee, technical service specialist, NOVA Chemicals will present the study at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 25.

Findings to Aid PE Resin Selection

The findings from two additional NOVA Chemicals studies will be presented during ANTEC® 2015.

Ten commercial polyethylene resins have been assessed in the study, “Determination of the Zero Shear Viscosity of Polyethylene,” using a creep test and the traditional oscillatory frequency sweep test; the results by either method can be used to evaluate the long chain branching content of PE resins. Mr. Wen Lin, research scientist, NOVA Chemicals will present the findings at 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 23

In his study, “Using Molecular Stress Function Theory to Evaluate Strain Hardening of Polyethylene,” Tieqi Li, research engineer, NOVA Chemicals provides film customers with a guideline that will enable them to choose a resin with suitable hardening properties for their specific processes. Dr. Li will present his findings at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 24.

For more information, visit NOVA Chemicals on the Internet at


About NOVA Chemicals

NOVA Chemicals develops and manufactures chemicals and plastic resins that make everyday life safer, healthier and easier. Our employees work to ensure health, safety, security and environmental stewardship through our commitment to sustainability and Responsible Care®. NOVA Chemicals, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

About NOVA Chemicals Polyethylene Business

The NOVA Chemicals polyethylene business enables its customers’ success with a portfolio of more than 125 specialized SURPASS®, SCLAIR® and NOVAPOL® resins. Each new NOVA Chemicals resin is developed to meet customer requirements, from drop-in consistency to step-out performance attributes. Our customer-centric approach is driven by our brand promises of Focused Expertise, Applied Innovation, Proactive Service and Reliable Supply.