Industrial Minerals in plastics and polymers

Polymeric resins are generally filled and/or reinforced with IM. For instance, it is talc and calcium carbonate that give their strength to plastic garden tables and chairs. Rigid PVC and PP are the two resins that account for the bulk of mineral consumption in plastics.

IM are however also used in polyamide, unsaturated polyesters, HDPE (high density poly ethelene) and LDPE (low density poly ethelene). Small amounts of minerals, particularly talc and silica, are used in the compounding and manufacture of rubber goods. They perform anti-sticking or reinforcing
functions. The new-generation energy saving car tyres for example rely on the silica content of the polymer. Silicone has invaded our lives up to a point where one can hardly imagine what would be the situation without them. They are key in construction, aeronautic, medicine, packaging, etc. The raw material at the very basis of their synthesis is silica, an IM.