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*****For immediate use January 26, 2004

NEC Succeeds in Development of Flame Resistant Bio-Plastic

- Without using toxic materials such as halogen and phosphorus compounds -




Tokyo, January 26, 2004 --- NEC Corporation today announced that it has succeeded in developing top level flame resistant biomass-source plastic (polylactic acid*) without the use of such toxic materials as halogen and phosphorus compounds* (flame retarding additives*). This bio-plastic* has passed top-level flame resistance* standards regulated by Under Writer Laboratories (UL), which will enable it to be widely used in electronic products. In addition, it boasts other important properties such as heat resistance, moldability, and strength that are comparable to those of fiber-reinforced polycarbonate used in desktop-type electronic products. This development will realize the use of bio-plastics in electronic products as well as contributing to environmental friendliness.

Main characteristics of the bio-plastic include the following:

(1) Top-level flame resistance (UL94 5V and UL94 V-0/ 1.6mm test piece thickness) has been achieved by the use of a safe inorganic material that absorbs heat during ignition.
(2) Other important properties such as heat resistance, moldability, and strength have been satisfied by the addition of special additives that improve these properties.

*Bio-plastic: Plastics made of biomass-source, which can aid reduction of current environmental problems such as the increase of CO2 gas causing global warming and petroleum resource exhaust.
*Polylactic acid: A type of bio-plastic made of corn, etc. This was the first bio-plastic to be mass produced. However, it has insufficient flame resistance and other properties to enable use in electronic products.
*Flame resistance: Plastics used in electronic products require high flame resistance to prevent fire. The standard for flame resistance that is regulated by Under Writer Laboratories (UL) in the USA is widely adopted. The order of high flame resistance is 5V, V-0, V-1, V-2, NOT V-2 (UL94 session). General electronic products such as PCs and TVs require standards higher than V-1. Special products that generate heat with high temperature, such as projectors require 5V.
*Flame-retarding additives: Additives which retard flaming after ignition. Halogen compounds such as organic bromine compounds and phosphorus compounds such as red phosphorus and phosphorus ester are widely used, but such halogen compounds generate toxic gases when burning. Also red phosphorus can generate toxic substances when burned, and phosphorus esters themselves are somewhat toxic and might cause biological damage after disposal. So in terms of safety these compounds are insufficient.


About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l) is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its diverse and global base of customers. Ranked as one of the world's top patent-producing companies, NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and had net sales of approximately $40 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2003. For additional information, please visit the NEC home page at: http://www.nec.com.

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