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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Conference Proceedings

Comparison of Mesh Partitioning Technique and Level-Set Method for Coextrusion Simulation
Mahesh Gupta, May 2014

Multilayer flow is simulated in five different coextrusion dies using the mesh partitioning technique as well as by the level-set method. These simulations show that depending upon the layer structure in the die, one of the two techniques may be more suitable for the coextrusion simulation. In general, the layer structure predicted by the mesh partitioning technique is found to be more accurate than the corresponding predictions from the level-set method. Level-set method requires that the layers should be arranged in a sequential manner, which is not necessary if the mesh partitioning technique is used. The mesh partitioning technique cannot simulate a multilayer flow if an interface between the polymer layers splits into two interfaces, or if two interfaces, which start separately, merge into a single interface in the die.

Dynamics and Hysteresis in Capillary Rheometry
David O. Kazmer, Amir Moshe, Stephen Johnston, Robert Malloy, Samuel Kenig, May 2014

Several sets of experiments were conducted to investigate the dynamics and hysteresis in capillary rheometry. Experimental data indicate that the imposed flow rate history can vary the apparent viscosity by a factor of 10, a magnitude as significant as a change between the minimum and maximum recommended processing temperatures. Contributing factors that were investigated and found insignificant included the capillary length:diameter ratio, viscous heating of the polymer melt, rheometer transmission, and instrumentation. Other contributing factors to be analyzed further include polymer compressibility and viscoelasticity.

Structure-Property Relationship of Biaxially Oriented Polyethylene (BOPE) Films Made via Double Bubble Film Fabrication Process
Yijian Lin, Mehmet Demirors, Jephrey Pan, XiaoBing Yun, May 2014

Mechanical and optical properties were compared between a double bubble biaxially oriented polyethylene (BOPE) film and a blown film. The double bubble film exhibited higher modulus, higher tensile strength, better optical properties, but lower tear strength. Morphological differences between the double bubble film and the blown film were investigated with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). It was found that in the double bubble process the large crystals were broken up into smaller fibrillar crystals with a larger long spacing. C-axis of the fibrillar crystals preferentially lay in the plane of machine direction and cross direction (MD-CD). The lower tear strength for double bubble films has been proposed to be due to the fibrillar crystal morphology. A sample with a larger low temperature melting peak showed a better tear strength with a similar stiffness.

New Effect Pigment Preparations – New Products Are Driving the Efficiency in Masterbatch Production and Enable Plastic Processors to Enter New Markets
Mike Yockel, May 2014

Effect Pigments are widely used in plastic materials to achieve gold, silver or pearlescent colours. The main aspect is to achieve a differentiation and to upgrade the value of the end user product. The first part of the presentation describes the production, processing, optical aspects and the special features of aluminium-, gold bronze-, and pearlescentpigments. This will be followed by the introduction of new effect pigments such as the platinum dollar aluminium pigments which enable spray coated like" silver effects in mass coloured plastics. In addition a new generation of pearl pigment on the basis of artificial glass substrates will be highlighted. Today's key success factor for pigment manufacturers is the ability to provide easy to use product forms with high and consistent qualities such as Eckart's Micropellets. These products enable significant cost reductions compared to regular pigment powders or pastes in masterbatch production as they enable higher production speeds and easy dispersion. They also significantly reduce cleaning times in production. Finally a short outline on use of aluminium pigments to improve insulation properties of plastics will be given. Energy saving is Megatrend especially at today's crude oil prices. Aluminium pigments reflect IR light and therefore can be used to improve the insulation and help to keep the heat inside (winter) or outside (summer)."

Thermoforming of Biodegradable Sheets Obtained from a Thermoplastic Starch and Polylactic Acid Blend
Elkin D. Cardona, Maria Noriega, May 2014

This paper describes the blending and the thermoforming performance of a thermoplastic starch (TPS) and polylactic acid (PLA) compound. A twin screw extruder (TSE) was used for corn starch plasticizing and blending with the plasticized PLA. A single screw extruder was used to melt, functionalize and feed the plasticized PLA into the TSE. Extruded pellets were used to make sheets through extrusion calendering, which were ultimately thermoformed in a parallelepiped shape. Thermoformability of the sheets was evaluated by the area ratio, the maximum uniaxial deformation, and the thickness measurement in the machine direction (MD) and transversal direction (TD). The operating window was defined using DMA techniques. The compound showed good thermoformability characteristics.

Experimental Study of Fiber Attrition within a Long Fiber Glass-Reinforced PP under Controlled Conditions
Nathalie T. El Barche, Maria V. Candal Pazos, Angel Yanev, Tim A. Osswald, May 2014

The effect of the process/material conditions over the fiber damage was studied. In this experimental study, a controlled shear flow was generated by using a Couette device. Two Polypropylene (PP) resins with 30 and 40 % glass fiber concentration by weight, respectively, were used. The measurement of the fiber length distribution was done using the STAMAXTAT SABIC® method and it was observed that the melt temperature, rotational speed, residence time and fiber concentration greatly affect the fiber length distribution. Furthermore, comparing the damage occurred during the injection molding and purged with those generated in a Couette device, it was found that an additional reduction in fiber length occurs during injection molding because the fibers are forced to pass through narrow channels.

Pressure-Rise Tests for Detecting Particles in Polymers
Wenyi Huang, Michael Read, Todd Hogan, Anthony C. Neubauer, May 2014

A pressure-rise test method was developed and qualified to detect undesired particles in polymers. The feasibility of this method was confirmed by a polymer with a large number of particles, and the key parameters for defining pressure-rise were characterized as the initial pressure, initial slope and pressure-rise per hour. The theoretical simulations of initial pressure and pressure-rise due to screen blockage were demonstrated and validated with experimental data. This test method is useful for resin quality assurance, screen life determination, and new formulation development of polymers for many extrusion processes.

Device for Measuring Microscale Viscosity in a Self-Aligned Microgap
Danyang Zhao, Huiqing Tian, Minjie Wang, Donggang Yao, May 2014

A novel rheometer for measuring shear viscosity in a self-aligned microgap was developed. Drag flow of simple linear motion was created inside two self-aligned parallel plates. A ball-bearing contact between the loading and moving parts was employed to facilitate self-alignment so that gap thickness smaller than those in standard rheometers can be obtained. Analysis based on the lubrication approximation indicated that a self-balancing liquid film can be generated between the two plates during rheological measurement. The new device was successfully used to measure the viscosity of selected fluids.

Crystallization Characteristic and Heat Seal Properties of Biodegradable Films
Supaphorn Thumsorn, Sommai Pivsa-Art, Kazushi Yamada, Ken Miyata, Hiroyuki Hamada, May 2014

Biodegradable polymer film was prepared from poly(lactic acid)/thermoplastic starch (PLA/TPS) blend by cast film process at 0, 5 and 10 wt% of TPS. The PLA and PLA/TPS blend films were heat sealed at heat sealed temperature of 90 and 100 °C. The heat seal time was varied from 0.5 to 2.0 s with a pressure of 0.2 MPa. The effect of heat sealed conditions on heat seal properties of PLA and PLA/TPS films was investigated. Heat sealed strength of PLA/TPS blend films decreased when increasing the heat sealed times. PLA/TPS heat sealed films exhibited greater crystallinity than the PLA heat sealed film, which characterized by crystallization kinetic study.

Acoustic Process Analysis of Rubber Compounding
Christian Hopmann, Jan Peter Dering, May 2014

Properties of rubber compounds differ batch-wise. This can lead to waste and, thus, it is desirable to reduce these variations. One reason for quality variations of rubber compounds is the discontinuous way of compounding in internal mixers. Mixing effects make it difficult to adjust the process parameters of internal mixers in order to guarantee constant qualities. Experienced operators of internal mixers observe that characteristic noises during the mixing process can be correlated with the state of mixing. Thus, a project has been started to use these mixing noises for the development of a control system for internal mixers, which is able to characterize the state of the rubber compound. First, a measurement system has been implemented which allows the online visualization and recording of the mixing noise. It is systematically analyzed how the mixing noise is related to the state of mixing and the resulting elastomeric properties. The results show a correlation between filler incorporation and the characteristic sounds.

An Interconnected Porous Poly(?-Caprolactone) Structure Fabricated by Micro-Cellular Injection Molding Combined with Chemical Foaming and Particulate Leaching
Xiaofeng Wang, Xiaodong Wang, Na Zhao, Jing Jiang, Feifei Liu, Qian Li, Lih-Sheng Turng, May 2014

In tissue engineering applications, a scaffold containing an interconnected porous structure is often highly desired, since these interconnected pores allow nutrients and signaling molecules to rapidly diffuse into the material. A mass production method of fabricating a porous structure, microcellular injection molding, was combined with chemical foaming and particulate leaching methods to fabricate an interconnected porous structure made of poly(?-caprolactone) (PCL). Sodium bicarbonate (SB) was employed as the chemical foaming agent. The results showed that the interconnected porous structures of poly(?-caprolactone) were successfully obtained based on different material compositions. Sodium bicarbonate not only generated carbon dioxide as a gas blowing agent, but also served as the heterogeneous nuclei for the gas bubbles. Sodium bicarbonate and its byproduct, sodium carbonate, also became the porogens in the subsequent particulate leaching process. The morphology of the pores and interconnectivity were discussed in this paper. These interconnected porous structures have the potential to be used for tissue engineering scaffolds.

Application of Visual Mold for the Effect of Counter Pressure Mechanism on Gas-Assisted Injection Molding Process
Wen-Ren Jong, Shyh-shin Hwang, Song-Hong Hong, Yan-Mao Huang, Chi-Hung Kao, Kui-Yu Li, May 2014

Gas assisted injection molding refers to injecting gas into the short shot melt in the packing stage. Compressed gas is used as the medium to push melt and maintain pressure. Cost is saved by hollowed core. Therefore, the hollow rate and penetration length are required in end product quality. This study visualizes molding flow and uses a gas counter pressure mechanism in the gas assisted molding process. The melt flow behavior is influenced by controlling the counter pressure, making it possible to discuss the effect of a counter pressure mechanism on the hollow rate of gas assisted molded articles. This study designs an in-mold visible mold and uses a clip-shape cavity for an experiment on gas assisted injection molding with a counter pressure mechanism. The flow field of two-phase fluid and the fountain effect under different counter pressure conditions are observed by high-speed photography and adding particles. The relationships among the penetration length of the finished product, the hollowed evenness and the molding parameters are analyzed, and a database of gas assisted injection molding under counter pressure mechanism is created. The experimental results show that when the gas counter-pressure is applied to the gas-assisted molding, although the hollow area is reduced, the penetration length of the finished product can be increased, so as to make the hollow quality uniform. In addition, it is observed in the fiber orientation that the interlayer structural orientation is made uniform as the counter pressure increases, meaning the counter pressure can reduce the shrinkage of a finished product.

UV Curing Behavior of Polydimethylsiloxane Toughened Acrylate
Ho Jong Kang, Jae-seon Yoon, Sungwoo Park, Doowhan Kang, May 2014

Ultraviolet (UV) curing characteristics of polydimethylsiloxane(PDMS) toughened acrylate was investigated by photo DSC. PDMS was introduced as a rubber toughening phase in the acrylate coating on plastic film to avoid the crack formation. It was found that the crack formation in acrylate coated thin film was disappeared by adding PDMS but PDMS interrupted UV curing of acrylate. The lowering of UV curing by PDMS could be minimized when PDMS having higher methylvinylsiloxane content in PDMS was mixed with acrylate due to the UV curing between methylvinylsiloxane and acrylate.

Surface Modification of Polymeric Surfaces Using Reactive Gas Technology
Prakash Iyer, May 2014

Traditional methods to activate surfaces include corona and plasma treatment, which have some drawbacks. This presentation describes a technology for modifying polymeric substrates, which has proven effective for improving the performance of existing products and for facilitating activation of “difficult to modify” materials such as PP and PE. The treatment involves using Inhance Technologies’ proprietary reactive gas atmosphere technology that creates permanent high surface energy. The treatment can be carried out on 3 dimensional as well as 2 dimensional structures. The treatment gives tenacious adhesion and allows use of a broad array of continuous phase systems including epoxies, polyester, polyurethane, concrete, water based coatings and others. The surface modification chemistry can be very rapid, often a few seconds, which enables processing to be done continuously and on-line.

Novel Melt Filtration Technology for Challenging Recyclate
Noah Grade, Martin H. Mack, May 2014

The American market for recycled plastic offers both enormous economic potential and strategic challenges. Especially in light of the domestic shale oil boom, recyclers must find ways to maintain competitive advantage in the market. Tackling increasingly contaminated, wet and hard-to-process materials offers a path to this end. Co-rotating twin screw extruders are well suited for accepting plastic regrind of different shapes, bulk densities and contamination levels. Energy extensive drying steps after the washing process can be eliminated, when steam and moisture is removed in special venting barrels. In this paper, process experiences with a novel continuous melt filter are presented, which offers superior processing and flexibility for recyclers to capture untapped value. The functionality and processing potential of this filter in combination with the twin screw extruder is explained by using examples from the post- industrial recycling market, the automotive recycling effort and as well as the post-consumer recycling sources.

Investigating the Full-Face Joining of Polymer-Metal Hybrid Structures
Jörg Vittinghoff, Dietmar Drummer, May 2014

Hybrid structures consisting of metal inserts and injection molded ribbing offer both a cost-efficient production technique and an excellent ratio of mechanical performance to weight. Thus, this technique has found its use a million times over for the fabrication of lightweight parts, especially in automotive applications. Currently, joining both families of materials is achieved by form-fit and frictional joints due to its easy process integration. This paper presents a new approach by joining both materials adhesively in the process of the In-Mold- Assembly and shows the lightweight potential to be additionally tapped.

Developing Flexible Packaging with Pilot Scale Equipment
Thomas Dunn, Andrew Christie, May 2014

Preparing package materials on a pilot scale production line allows validation of both materials (fit-for-use) and processes (fit-to-make). The process generates samples for a full array of testing including customer packaging-machine trials and shelf-life testing. This paper will discuss pilot scale test design especially the importance of establishing clear and limited objectives for validation, and available options for responding to reduced time-to-market expectations. Scalability from the pilot to production will be reviewed. Examples from the development of non-foil high barrier packaging from the US Soldier Science Center Development program for Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) will be cited. The recently completed SAM North America pilot lab for Flexible Films and laminations will demonstrate the added flexibility of the pilot scale production approach.

Optimizing the Co-Extrusion Process for Multi-Layer Line
Surendra M. Sagar, May 2014

Co-extrusion presents the processor with many distinct advantages in terms of flexibilities, product quality, and economics. On the other hand, a co-extrusion package will not solve all of a processor’s problems automatically. To ensure that the evolution to extrusion will be as simple as possible, it is essential that all aspects of the process are carefully considered, from initial specification of the line, through to the actual operation of equipment, package design, installation, operation, and process assistance utilizing process simulation software. These matters are discussed in the detail in the following paper.

Selectivity and Reactivity in the Chlorination of PVC Model Compounds in Radical-Complexing Solvents
Xianlong Ge, William H. Starnes, Jr., May 2014

A potential route to the preparation of poly(1,2-dichloroethylene) (PDCE) through the selective chlorination of poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) was explored. Certain solvents can play a very important role during free-radical chlorination because they form complexes with the free chlorine atom and thus change the chlorination pattern. In our work, the photochlorination of three model compounds for PVC, namely, 2,4-dichloropentane, 3-chloropentane, and 4-chloroheptane, was carried out with molecular chlorine in the absence or presence of complexing solvents. The effects of these solvents on the chlorination selectivity for these model compounds were explored. During the conventional chlorination of alkyl chlorides with molecular chlorine, a bridged-radical intermediate is believed to be involved, and for this reason, vicinal chlorides are the major products. However, we found that because of polar effects and resonance stabilization, the yields of geminal chlorides increased significantly in the presence of complexing solvents. Such solvents also are well known to decrease reactivity in free-radical chlorinations with Cl2. Thus, for both of these reasons, the chlorination of PVC with Cl2 in complexing solvents is unlikely to be useful for the preparation of PDCE.

Structure – Property Relationships in Lightly Crosslinked Polyolefin Foams
Mark A. Barger, May 2014

It is well known that viscoelastic behavior strongly affects the properties of lightly crosslinked cellular polymers (e.g., thermoformability, primary and secondary foamability). Polyolefin foams, crosslinked to equivalent gel levels by either irradiation (< Tm) or peroxide (>Tm) processes, exhibit different viscoelastic characteristics in the melt state. This implies that polymer crosslinking and foam expansion dynamics play critical and sometimes interrelated roles in defining material properties, and that sol/gel measurements alone cannot adequately characterize these networks due to entropic (i.e., network order) effects. The effect of network order on the viscoelastic properties of crosslinked cellular polyethylene was systematically studied as described herein.

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