Komacel

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Description

[Kommerling] A white, glossy, rigid foam board with a sandwich -like structure where the smooth outer skin and interior fine-cell foam are both composed of Polyvinyl chloride. The lightweight Komacel® boards were designed for screen printing and lamination. They were first made in Europe in 1976 and manufactured in the U.S. since 1996. The company indicates the weatherproof, light-fast boards are chemically resistant and provide thermal and sound insulation. Some alternate products from the same company include:

  • Komacel® Plus (Semi-rough surface that gives finished digital print an 'aged look')
  • Komacel® Plus Embossed (Surface with faux wood grain)
  • Komatex® (Free foamed sheet - no outer skin)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Similar Products: ePVC; Forex; Sintra (3A Composites); Komatex; Komacel Plus

Applications

  • Graphic substrate (screen printing, paintable, lettering enamels, vinyl lettering, direct printing)
  • Laminating
  • Case Furniture (plinths, flat panels, risers, etc.)
  • Acoustics (good acoustic and sound insulation)
  • Outdoor Use (weatherproof, Indoor/outdoor use without pretreatment)

Personal Risks

  • According to the manufacturer, Komacel® is free of formaldehyde, asbestos, lindane, PCB, PCP, CFCs, cadmium, and lead and do not contain any monomers, biocides, or plasticisers.
  • Can generate fine static cling dust when cut or sanded
  • Komacel: SDS

Collection Risks

Rigid PVC boards often contain volatile heat stabilizers, and other additives that can pose risks to collection materials. According to research published in August, 2020, Komacel® boards do not contain harmful heat stabilizers that are present in several other PVC boards. [1] It is important to keep in mind that not all PVC products have the same properties and therefore they should not be used interchangeably.

Komacel® has routinely passed Oddy tests (see below), but it is possible that low levels of hydrochloric acid will be released during the slow degradation of PVC products. Komacel® should be safe to use in most situations, especially for short term display. As an added precaution, avoid placing collection materials in direct contact with Komacel® without a barrier. [2]

Links to Oddy Test results posted on AIC Wiki Materials Database Pages for individual materials Link Tested 20 December 2019 (Passed)

Environmental Risks

Although the company reports that this product is 100% recyclable this is probably pre-consumer at the manufacturing plant. In practice, there is little to no reported success in finding someone to recycle PVC.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • White Colors: Whites 652 (to match RAL 9010) & White 654 (to Match RAL9016)
  • Core is a noticeably different color for gloss finish despite homogeneous moulded-in color
  • Fire Safety could vary depending on thickness (Fire-cell foam structure, Low flammability, fire behavior according to UL94-VO, 4 mm thickness)
  • Weight Example: 4’x 8’ @ 19mm sheet: 72-76lbs
  • Thermal Expansion: Dark colors are not recommended for outdoor use (fluctuations if subjected to 175°F or greater)

Working Properties

  • Brittle when painted or finished
  • Edges need to be sealed/sanded to appear clean and polished
  • Subject to denting
  • Working Guidelines PVC-U Sheets
  • Material Storage Needs:
  1. Order with optional protective film double-sided or single-sides. NOTE: Film-laminated sheets should be used within 6 months.
  2. Always store Kömacel sheets on a level surface in a dry, air conditioned environment at about 15–20 °C. The packaged sheets should not be exposed to weathering effects and direct sunlight.
  3. Do not exceed the maximum stacking height of a truck when storing.

Forms and Sizes

  • Thicknesses: 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 10mm, 19mm, 24mm, 28mm, 30mm
  • Widths: 1000mm, 1220mm, 1250mm, 1560mm
  • Lengths: 2440mm, 3000mm, 3050mm, 4000mm
  • Finishes: white-2 variations; black finish available.

Resources and Citations

  • [1] Assessing the Suitability of Unplasticized Poly(Vinyl Chloride) for Museum Showcase Construction, Michael J. Samide and Greg Smith, 2020 Link
  • [2] CCI Technical Bulletin 32 - Products Used in Preventive Conservation Link
  • Komacel: Integral Foam Sheet
  • Komacel: Main brochure(pdf)