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Evonik celebrates 40 years of polyether block amide

Evonik celebrates 40 years of polyether block amide

News 11.04.2019

In 1979, Evonik launched the thermoplastic elastomer polyether block amide (PEBA) under the brand name VESTAMID® E from its largest global production site in the Marl Chemical Park.

Whether in sports equipment, hydraulic pressure lines in trucks, medical devices or 3D printed high-tech parts, Evonik’s polyamide 12 elastomers kept finding their way into new demanding applications over the past four decades. Right from the beginning, the high-performance polymer has stood out for its excellent low-temperature impact resistance, chemical resistance, high elasticity and good resilience. It was easy to process, dye or over-mold. From the beginning, the thermoplastic material offered a uniquely balanced property profile that enabled design-free implementation of demanding applications.

Performance and design are key attributes for the sports industry. The PA 12 elastomer molding compounds of Evonik quickly became the material of choice for items such as athletic shoes, ski, touring and hiking boots or later, decorative protective films for skis and snowboards.


“Our PA 12 elastomer is extremely lightweight thanks to its low density. In comparison with other sole materials, this would eliminate about 100 kg of weight for a player to carry around in the sum of his steps during a 90-minute soccer match. That saves energy and increases endurance,” says Klaus Hulsmann, plastics expert in the Consumer Goods market segment of Evonik.

Ski or hiking boots made of PEBA have remained lightweight, waterproof and wear-resistant to this day. They retain their flexibility even in cold conditions. Thanks to its excellent mechanical properties, the high-performance material can efficiently determine the wall thickness of shoes, which allows for optimizing production costs.

Nowadays, flexible polymers that also comply with high quality standards are used, among other applications, in the demanding field of medical technology. Over the years, the experts at Evonik have developed and optimized flexible polyamide 12 elastomers in a wide range of hardnesses for use in medical technology, which were successfully launched under the product name VESTAMID® Care ME.

With over 20 years of expertise in additive manufacturing technologies, Evonik is now a global leader in the development and production of customized polymer powders for various 3D printing technologies. The specialty chemicals company has developed the world’s first flexible synthetic material based on polyether block amide for use in 3D printing. The new high-performance powder stands out for its high elasticity and strength and is suitable for a variety of powder-based 3D printing technologies.

Evonik has developed custom-tailored polyamide 12 elastomers for demanding applications for 40 years. The product keeps reinventing itself, be it for new supply formats or through lateral entry into new markets – including a short application stint in the mid-1980s for low-noise gears installed in cassette recorders. PEBA is a true quick-change artist among thermoplastic materials. Relying on decades of experience with polymer design and numerous successful customer projects, the experts at Evonik keep researching to continuously expand the property profile of the flexible high-performance polymer.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees. In fiscal 2018, the enterprise generated sales of €15 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.6 billion.

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