The fans entering the new Moses Mabhida Stadium, one of the venues of this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa,
will be greeted by the plastic seating that is not only colorful but also well-protected against fire and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The polypropylene seats in Durban and in two other World Cup football venues have been made using color, flame retardants and UV stabilizers, which are compounded together by the Clariant Masterbatches, a specialty chemical company.
Clariant won the stadium seating contracts because of its “technical expertise, reputation, product value proposition and the fact that we could supply not only color but also a UV stabilizer and flame retardant in a single combibatch,” explains Mayendran Pillay, Head of Clariant’s Masterbatch business unit in Southern Africa. A “combibatch” is a custom masterbatch containing color and one or more functional additives. The concentrated color and additive package is added to the natural plastic resin during the molding process.
The Moses Mabhida stadium, which opened in November 2009, and the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, which opened in January 2010, are completely new venues, built in the run-up to the world football championships. The Loftus Versfeld stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria is an older facility, recently renovated, with new seats installed in March of this year. Masterbatches were supplied in many different colors including various shades of blue, grey, white, green, orange and brown. Flame retardants meet the requirements of the DIN 4102 B1 standard.
UV stabilizers were critical because the seats must stand up to years of exposure to the South African sun. However, not just any combination of color, flame retardants and UV stabilizers would provide the necessary protection. Fortunately, the Clariant Center of Technology for Additives, located in Italy, has been producing masterbatches for use in stadium seats since 1990. That experience, along with a rigorous testing program, made it possible to identify the ideal “combibatch” for these football stadiums.
Clariant applications in the South African stadiums also include a white masterbatch with a blue tint that is used in production of corrugated polypropylene sheet for advertising boards inside the stadiums. Other combibatches are used in telecommunications conduits installed in and near the stadiums. In addition to color, flame retardant and UV stabilizer, these masterbatches also include an antioxidant to prevent thermo-oxidative degradation during processing and after installation. Finally, combibatches that meet strict food contact regulations add color, anti-static and anti-slip properties to the closures used on soft drink bottles sold at the football games.
The masterbatches used in the facilities in South Africa are just some of the Clariant products that deliver color and performance to this exciting football event. Other Clariant brands, including additives and pigments, can be used in scores of applications that range from the textiles and other materials used in player uniforms and equipment, to the color filters in electronic billboards and giant LCD screens, to artificial turf and even the pipes that keep natural-grass fields warm so play can continue even in cold weather. In short, Clariant additives, pigments and masterbatches help make football venues around the world more comfortable, more colorful, more functional and safer.
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