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PRODUCTS > PROCEDURES & BULLETINS > BULLETINS >WHAT IS PLASTICIZER MIGRATION?
Welcome titleWhat is Plasticizer Migration?
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We use high heat and high molecular weight PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Because of these characteristics, our Euroflex and Cooley-Brite ranges will experience minimal plasticizer migration, and this can be identified by the dry, smooth surface of the membranes.

Plasticizer migration concerns the user just as much as wicking or mildew because of its effect on the life expectancy of flexible substrates.

Plasticizer is the molecular hinge that allows flexible PVC substrates to maintain their flexibility. Without the influence of plasticizer, PVC substrates would be brittle and liable
to cracking.

With this in mind it should be pointed out that plasticizers are required in all flexible PVC substrates, but the key is that the plasticizer must remain inside the PVC and not migrate to the surfaces.

A quick way to check for plasticizer migration is to feel the surface and back of the substrate; simply by touching the surfaces one will notice whether they are dry or sticky.

Stickiness may often cause a problem in cleaning once the sign or awning is installed. Plasticizer migration may also cause a problem with peeling of pressure sensitive applications or may lead to poor performance.

Most manufacturers use a plasticol coating production method with liquid PVC and a high concentration of plasticizer that allow it to stay in a liquid state during processing. It is coated onto paper and later laminated to the scrim.

The major disadvantage of this laminating procedure is that as the product ages,
the plasticizer blended into the PVC for processing migrate to the surface and cause
the membrane to become tacky. Once the plasticizers are on the surface, the membrane will start to lose its flexibility and allow dirt and pollutants to stick to the surface.
Eventually, decorations applied to the surface will de-laminate or flake off.

The advantage of the process used for our products is that during production they use high heat and minimal concentration of high quality plasticizer rather than high concentration of plasticizer in liquid form. As a result of the PVC and processing differences the membranes will not suffer the plasticizer migration problems exhibited by products which have been
cast laminated.

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