The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology announced on April 2 that a Korean research team led by Dr. Park In-joon and Dr. Lee Soo-bok succeeded in developing a new technique to manufacture a vinylidene fluoride (VDF) monomer, which is used to produce Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF), a core material used in the high-tech industry.
Since PVDF has excellent weather resistance, fouling resistance, ferroelectricity, and a low refractive index, the material is widely utilized in the country’s key industries, including solar cells, secondary batteries, water purification systems, and antipollution optical films. The VDF monomer, on the other hand, refers to basic material used to create PVDF.
The research team is widely acknowledged to have laid the groundwork for securing a tech to manufacture a fluorine-contained resin, in that it developed a basic technology for a continuous proving process that can be used in the manufacturing process of PVDF. In addition, about 100 billion won (US$94.9 million) per year is expected to be saved, since the country will no longer need to import VDF.
According to the team, they were able to achieve the cost competitiveness at the international level through both the pyrolysis process in which impurities are rarely created and by increasing the conversion efficiency.
The research team is aiming at commercial production by 2015. It is also planning to make a strenuous effort to develop a method to produce PVDF, to make its prototype, and to transfer related technology to companies.
Dr. Park explained, “After test runs, it was found that the conversion rate of the pyrolysis reaction was more than 99.5 percent,” adding, “Purity was 98.5 percent, and distillation purity was 99.7 percent, which are on a par with the world’s best tech.”
He also stressed, “Our research is significant in that we developed our own technology. So far, importing the tech has been impossible, because a limited number of countries such as the US, Japan, and Germany retain the tech.” He concluded by saying, “We are going to make continuous efforts to locally produce other core chemical materials essential for the industry.”