The customer wanted to replace ABS in vacuum cleaner housings with polypropylene (PP), which is less expensive. The problem with PP is inferior scratch resistance. They had tried for many years to make a scratch-resistant polypropylene (PP) and were well aware of the many traditional approaches.
I suggested a completely new approach. I has read of a way to make PP with an ultra-hard super high crystallinity surface. It was proven technically but had never been commercialized. I decided to try it at pilot scale to see whether it would work under manufacturing conditions.
It worked right away giving a hard surface with scratch-resistance at least as good as ABS as proven using the ball mill abrasion test (BMAT) which we had already validated as the most relevant test method.
Other advantages were very high gloss, good paintability and stain resistance, properties which have proven useful in other common applications for polypropylene, especially in automotive use. This new approach to scratch-resistant polypropylene has attracted attention from several major companies wanting to license it.