- General Sports/Other

Interview Jake McDonough

Today we are interviewing Jake McDonough, Business Development Engineer for Sports equipment, optics and wearable electronics at Arkema. Jake will tell us more about his role at Arkema and his relation with Pebax materials.

  • What is your role in the Pebax Powered® team?

I help our customers choose the best material for their application. There are so many options out there in terms of different materials to use for a product developer. I discuss the project and application from a technical standpoint to find the best solution. Sometimes the material doesn’t exist, and in that case I work with my colleagues at Arkema to design a material from the ground up for a very specific application.

  • How do you make high performance polymers (plastics)?

Plastics are created using complex chemical processes. Essentially, we put several raw materials in a large reactor, mix them together with heat, and out comes plastic!

  • What is a polymer / elastomer?

Polymers are everywhere around you. In your cell phone, in airplanes and cars, in the clothes you wear, etc. They are skillfully designed on the molecular level for each specific application, and elastomers are a family of flexible polymers.

  • What is the difference between Pebax® elastomers and other elastomers like TPU?

The reason that Pebax® polymer is used by the most elite athletes is due to its low density (lightweight), high energy return, and stable mechanical properties over a wide temperature range.  These attractive properties also come at a cost to the manufacturer and ultimately the consumer, which is why the best running shoes are often $150 or more.

  • Some Pebax® resin is bio-based, what does that mean?

Arkema is a leader in bio-based materials. This means that some of the raw materials used to make the plastic come from a plant instead of crude oil. For Arkema, bio-based Pebax® Rnew® polymers are derived from castor oil. In contrast to other bio-based materials that come from corn, vegetable oil, and sugar, castor oil is not a food crop and requires very little water and pesticides to cultivate.  This makes Pebax® Rnew® plastics incredibly sustainable!

Thank you Jake for this great interview!