SPE Library

The SPE Library contains thousands of papers, presentations, journal briefs and recorded webinars from the best minds in the Plastics Industry. Spanning almost two decades, this collection of published research and development work in polymer science and plastics technology is a wealth of knowledge and information for anyone involved in plastics.

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Webinars
The Life of a Plastic Color
Tim Mouw and Thomas Meeker, November 2020
With increasingly complex color palettes and other specifications like flame retardation and recyclability coming into play, plastic color can be challenging to produce. However, with the right tools, processes and basic color understanding at hand, color doesn't have to be a burden in producing plastic product. During this webinar hosted by SPE, X-Rite Pantone color experts will help you understand the life of a plastic color and how your particular role in that lifecycle can help expedite the product development process, from inspiration and design all the way through final quality control. Key Learnings include:
  • Understand how to bridge the gap between color and appearance
  • Importance of using physical and digital tools
  • How to choose the right toolset for your role in the supply chain and particular needs
Life Cycle Assessments: Why and How?
Chris Koffler, November 2020
The webinar will give a high-level overview of the basic process, concepts, and calculations involved in carrying out Life Cycle Assessments in accordance with the international standard ISO 14044. It will further showcase LCA studies performed for industry to demonstrate the business value that can be derived from such studies in product development and marketing. The target audience includes process engineers, product designers, product managers, sustainability professionals, and anyone interested in ways to quantify the environmental performance of goods and services.
Taking out the Trash, Plastics Design for the End-of-Life
Eric Larson, December 2020
Nothing lasts forever. Great products might not last forever, but they usually last a long time. But no matter how great the product is, there will come a point in time where a thing no longer has any value. It then becomes waste. To be thrown in the trash. And then what? How do you design a product to account for its expected end of life? Or an unexpected end? How do you evaluate materials based on what happens at their end of life? What tools are there? How to use them? What’s next? For plastics, and for the industry.
The Consequences of Ductile-To-Brittle Transitions in Plastics
Jeffrey A. Jansen, December 2020
Thermoplastic resins are utilized in many applications because of their unique property set, including their ductile response to applied stress. This ductility is associated with the viscoelastic nature of polymers and is attributed to their unique molecular structure. In spite of that inherent ductility, most plastic components fail through one of the many brittle fracture modes. Experience through conducting thousands of plastic component failure analyses has shown that less than 5% were associated with ductile overload. The remainder represent brittle fractures of normally ductile materials. Thus, within evaluations of plastic component failures, the focus of the investigation frequently turns to identifying the nature of the ductile to brittle transition. This relatively brittle response to stress is evident through the examination and characterization of the fracture surface morphology. There are numerous factors, associated with material, processing, design, and service conditions that influence a ductile-to-brittle transition within plastic materials. These include:
  • Temperature
  • Stress Concentration
  • Chemical Contact
  • Molecular Weight
  • Degradation
  • Filler Content
  • Contamination
  • Poor Fusion
  • Strain Rate
  • Time Under Load
  • Crystallinity
  • Plasticizer Content
Medical Plastics: Making the Right Choice
Michael Paloian, December 2020
This presentation will include important design parameters that should be considered when specifying a plastic for a medical device. It will also recommend resources for aiding you during the selection process. The interrelationships between polymer structure and physical properties will be highlighted as well as polymer classifications. Examples of medical devices will be included toward the end of the presentation demonstrating how this information can be applied to real world applications.
Formulating Thermoplastics with Non-Halogen Flame Retardants: An Introduction
Roger Avakian, February 2021
Course Overview:
  • Basics of Polymer Flammability and Flame Retardant Mechanisms
  • Overview of Most Common Flammability Tests
  • Chemistry of Major Non-Halogen Flame Retardants
  • Common Non-Halogen Flame Retardants Used in Major Thermoplastics
  • Introduction to Formulating Thermoplastics with Non-Halogen Flame Retardants
Environmental Stress Cracking
Jeffrey A. Jansen, February 2021
Environmental stress cracking (ESC) is the leading cause of plastic component failure, and a recent study suggests that 25% of plastic part failures are related to ESC. If you deal with plastic components, then “Environmental Stress Cracking of Plastics” will provide you with information that will enhance your understanding of the interaction between chemicals and plastic resins, with the goal of preventing part failure. ESC is a solvent-induced failure mode in which a plastics crack through contact with a chemical agent while under stress. The webinar will be presented from a practical viewpoint with actual case studies to illustrate the ESC mechanism and explain plastic performance. Topics covered during this session include:
  • Introduction to ESC
  • How plastics fail
  • Explanation of the ESC failure mechanism
  • Generalizations related to chemical interaction with plastics
  • ESC resistance testing used to evaluate plastic/chemical compatibility
  • Case Illustrations of some common solvent-based failure modes
At the end of this presentation you will:
  • Have a better understanding how chemicals effect plastic components.
  • Recognize potential situations where ESC failure could occur in your parts.
  • Be able to design a chemical resistance program to evaluate plastic/chemical combinations.
Less is More: How to Maximize Energy Savings in Plastics Processing - Part 1
Josh Bachman and Pamela Birkel, March 2021
Wasted energy is wasted profit. In these webinars, plastics engineers, plant managers, and financial managers will learn about the typical opportunities to save energy at plastics plants. In the first webinar, Josh Bachman and Pamela BIrkel will share energy savings opportunities that have been uncovered over the years. They will also share case studies of successful projects, many of which were funded by the local utility.
Thermal Analysis of Plastics
Jeffrey A. Jansen, March 2021
Thermal analysis is an important group of tests used in the analysis of plastics and other polymeric materials. It consists of a family of well-established techniques that evaluate material properties as they change with temperature, time, and ambient environment under conditions of thermal programming. The results of thermal analysis tests provide qualitative and quantitative information about the material being evaluated. In particular, this information is important to address plastic failures or in characterization of the material composition and physical properties. The upcoming webinar on thermal analysis will introduce the four primary techniques:
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
  • Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
  • Thermomechancial Analysis (TMA)
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
The webinar is designed to introduce the techniques to the attendees so that they may get a better understanding of how the techniques can be used to evaluate plastic materials and solve problems. No single thermal analysis technique is best suited universally, but together they provide essential data for the characterization of plastics materials. This presentation will review thermal analysis techniques and their application to plastic problem solving through case studies. The webinar will be a practical treatment of the techniques, and the focus will be on how the techniques can be utilized to better understand polymeric materials. At the end of this presentation you will:
  • Gain insight into the different types of thermal analysis techniques
  • Recognize which technique is best suited to obtain the information you need
  • Understand how thermal analysis can be used to characterize the composition and properties of plastic
Less is More: How to Maximize Energy Savings in Plastics Processing - Part 2 
Josh Bachman, March 2021
This is the second part of a two-part webinar. This webinar will address behavioral and organizational approaches to industrial energy management. Josh will explain how manufacturing companies can implement energy programs, both through proven best practices and through local and regional utility funding programs.
Fractography of Glass Reinforced Plastics
Jeff Jansen, April 2021
The goal of a failure analysis is to identify the mechanism and cause of the component failure - to distinguish how and why the part broke. A fractographic examination is an essential part of this investigation, particularly in identifying the failure mode. Cracking occurs as a stress relief mechanism as a response to the exertion of stresses on a component. Glass fiber reinforced plastics offer enhanced mechanical properties, particularly strength and stiffness over unfilled materials. Their use is widespread in a wide variety of applications where mechanical integrity is essential. However, fractographic evaluation of these materials often presents a challenge due to the confounding effect of the fibers. The fibers can obscure the fracture surface features arising from:
  • Type of material and formulation constituents;
  • Type of applied forces (tensile, compression, shear);
  • Magnitude of forces;
  • Frequency of forces (continuous, intermittent, rapidly applied);
  • Environmental effects (temperature, presence of chemical).
This presentation will explore the challenges unique to glass fiber reinforced materials and techniques that can be used to gain the maximum information from these fracture surfaces.
Resume for the Virtual World Workshop
Alex Jordan, Rodney Joslin, Marcela Linares, April 2021
This event is for everyone from fresh out of school to looking for a new senior role! An expert panel (including someone who hires new graduates, someone who hires seasoned professionals, and an HR specialist in the plastics field) panel will introduce their top 3 tips for making your resume sell the best you! After a great discussion on what it takes to have a competitive resume in the world of digital filter systems, we will open it up to a live Q&A! Stick around for the second hour to dive deeper with the panelist of your choice and if you are bold enough, to have them work directly on your resume!
Plastic Bag Recycling: The Obaggo Story
David New, April 2021
Dave New, founder of Obaggo Recycling, will tell the story of his journey to bring a novel plastic bag recycling solution to the mass market. He will discuss the genesis of the idea, the trials and tribulations of prototype development, and the epic search for project support and funding. A fundamentally entrepreneurial story, Dave will talk about the world of start-up accelerators, b-plan competitions, and how he navigated a vast landscape of stakeholders, cheerleaders, and naysayers.
Interviewing for the Virtual World Workshop
David Peterson and Ashley Gannon, April 2021
This event is for everyone from fresh out of school to looking for a new role! The day will begin with an interviewing tips presentation hosted by David Peterson and Ashley Gannon  from Direct Recruiters. As experts in the interview process, David and Ashley will share best practices for nailing the interview, whether in person or over video conference. Following the Interview Best Practices, we will be hosting a panel discussion hosted by three experienced SPE members in the Plastics Field. The panelists will cover what they look for during the interview process and provide tips for ways to stand out during the interview. After the panel, we will open it up to a live Q&A!


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How to Reference Articles from the SPE Library:

Brief version (acceptable):
Author(s), SPE-ANTEC Tech. Papers, vol. no., page no. (year).
Proper version (preferred):
Author(s), “Title,” SPE-ANTEC Meeting in location: month, year, vol. no., page no.