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Material suppliers routinely use the K show to demonstrate to OEMs and processors not only what is currently possible with their resins, but what might be feasible in the future. In the spirit of the latter, Celanese took metal replacement into a wholly new application—a kitchen oven. (Formerly Ticona, Celanese Engineered Materials’ U.S. office is in Florence, Ky.)
“You see concept cars at a car show,” explained Tilo Vaahs, global director of engineered materials for Celanese’s consumer unit; “well, now you see a concept oven at a plastics show.” The oven, conceived by Brazilian designer Guto Indio da Costa, utilizes induction heating and is 100% plastic, applying Celanese’s Vectra and Zenite liquid crystal polymers (LCPs) and Fortron PPS, among other materials. Celanese said the final concept has 30% higher energy efficiency than its metal counterparts, due largely to the fact that it takes less energy to heat up plastics than it does metal.
Also, since plastics have a higher insulation value, the concept oven has a smaller compartment and overall footprint, an attractive feature for space-cramped urban kitchens. In addition to a plastic-based oven compartment, the appliance featured racks and tins made from plastics as well, with those items and the stove itself providing heat and chemical resistance. Vectra and Zenite LCPs have already been utilized in baking pans, noted Phil McDivitt, Celanese v.p. and general manager of engineered materials.
The compartment and racks were molded from LCP. The cook top, which slides out from the oven to save space when not in use, had to be perfectly flat. This was an achievable property thanks to Vectra and Zenite’s high flow, according to Celanese.