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
Surface Modification of Poly (Lactic Acid) Films via Grafting Hydrophilic Polymers
Amol V. Janorkar, Douglas E. Hirt, May 2004
The major objective of this research was to modify poly(lactic acid) (PLA) film surfaces with an ultimate aim of making a bioactive surface that will show selective protein adsorption and faster degradation. The PLA film was solvent cast and the film surfaces were activated by a plasma treatment procedure or UV irradiation. Poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) was then grafted to the PLA film surface using a UV induced photopolymerization process. The film surface resulting from each reaction step was analyzed using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and contact angle measurements. The molecular weight of the grafted PAA film was estimated by measuring the molecular weight of the homopolymer formed in the solution during the reaction using GPC. Results showed that PAA (Mw ~ 2000) was grafted from PLA film surfaces in 2 or 3 h depending on the method of activation.
Solid Phase Graft Copolymerization of PE-g-MA
Patricia Roberts, Jignesh Shah, Sunggyu Lee, May 2004
The solid phase graft copolymerization method was used to graft maleic anhydride onto commercial polyethylenes. This process is environmentally friendly since it requires minimal recovery or no use of solvent and the process conditions are mild. NMR analysis confirms the successful grafting of maleic anhydride onto the backbones of both linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Graft levels for all the polymers were quantified by FTIR absorbance as well as wet-chemical titration. Significant processing parameters were identified based on statistical design of experiments.
Developments in the Use of Inorganic Tin Compounds as Fire Retardant Synergists for Hydrated Fillers
P.R. Hornsby, P.A. Cusack, M. Cross, May 2004
Consideration is given to ongoing developments in the fire performance of formulation variants of EVA copolymer containing zinc hydroxystannate (ZHS), alumina trihydrate (ATH), magnesium hydroxide (MH) and nanoclay mixtures. ZHS/MH combinations are shown to give the best performance in EVA, enabling significant reductions in overall filler levels to achieve an acceptable level of fire performance, however this is dependent on the grade of MH used. The fire resistance of these systems is further improved by small additions of silicate layer nanoclay. The ZHS is shown to function predominantly in the condensed (char) phase.
Chemically Tailored Polymeric Layers Grafted to and from a Copolymer Film Surface
Keisha B. Walters, Wenjin Wang, Ryan P. Harris, Douglas E. Hirt, May 2004
This work is part of a study aimed at creating tunable surface modifying layers. Polymer molecules were grafted at the polymer surface and the pendant groups of these grafted polymers were subsequently substituted. The polymer layer of interest in this study was poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PtBuA) because it is relatively easy to substitute the tert-butyl ester groups with other functional groups to create a chemically tailored layer. The PtBuA was grown from the surface of ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer via atom transfer radical polymerization and was also grafted to the surface using end-functionalized PtBuA. The progression of the reactions and properties of the modified surfaces were studied using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and static contact angle.
ColorWorks: Closing the Loop in Product Design
William Blasius, May 2004
A design is not finished until parts hit the store shelf. There are a number of steps between the first sketches on a napkin and commercial sales, any one of which could lead to delays and cost overruns. One of the most important design considerations is material selection. Plastic parts are unique in that the material is infinitely variable. Designers working off of raw material specifications can set themselves up for some counterproductive surprises. Colorants, flame retardants, mold releases, ultraviolet light stabilizers and regrind affect melt viscosity and physical properties. By looking at final resin formulations early in the design process, manufacturing and performance issues can be addressed when changes are least costly. ColorWorks is an integrated solutions tool to help designers get to the final material properties quickly.
Mechanical Properties of Plastics Used in Finite Element Method Calculations
Jan Spoormaker, Ihor Skrypnyk, Oleg Nikolaevich Stolyarov, Vladimir Gnenadevich Tiranov, A.J. Heidweiller, May 2004
Finite Element Method (FEM) calculations are suitable for predicting the mechanical behavior of plastic products with complex geometries. The problem is to obtain to the relevant material data in particular for thin walled sections. Results from laboratory tensile specimens are not very reliable, because they are relatively thick and have little orientation.To determine the influence of thickness and orientation, creep and recovery experiments have been carried out. The specimens had different thicknesses and different flow directions. The results from tests have been used for FEM-calculations to determine the influence of thickness and orientation on the mechanical behavior of a beam shaped product.
Reducing Paint Particle Size for Painted TPO Regrind
Shardul Ramolia, Jason Mello, Peter Zelic, May 2004
Many industries, such as the automotive industry, are faced with a high volume of plastics scrap associated with painted plastic parts. Ideally, the paint is removed prior to reuse of the painted regrind. Paint removal methods include differential thermal expansion, chemical attack and abrasion. If not removed, paint flakes in the regrind material influence the mechanical properties and aesthetics of the product molded from the painted regrind. The size of the paint flakes will likely have an influence on the mechanical properties of the molded part.A reground painted thermoplastic olefin (TPO) will be extruded using a general purpose and a “grater” screw being developed at UML. The grater section design will then be modified to implement a progressive grating technique. The effect of the design change on paint flake size, output, melt temperature and mechanical properties will be monitored.
An Investigation into the Gate Location and its Effects on Product Quality in Injection Molding
Jeremy Gokey, Tony Harris, May 2004
Gate location is an important aspect of thermoplastic part design, and injection mold design. A proper gate location will facilitate high quality parts, whereas poor gate location may cause the quality of the part to suffer. There are many different factors that affect the gate location. These factors that may affect gate location include: flow properties of the plastic, gating into the approximate center of the part, wall thickness, gating into an obstacle, style of the gate, separation of the runner system from the part, aesthetic properties, and ease of manufacturing. Computer simulations may help to facilitate the proper gate location and decrease the lead-time in producing a mold.The focus of this research project is to determine the ideal gate location given the previously mentioned factors for a single gated thermoplastic part, comparing both the experience of previous engineers through research of current materials, and the analysis of computer simulation software. The first portion of this project consists of research compiled from accredited individuals within the plastics industry; their perspectives and experiences have been combined to discuss the various possibilities in placing an ideal gate location. Following the research, these ideas were tested through the use of Mold Flow (Mold Flow Inc.) in various part designs. The last portion of this project compares and contrasts the industry experience to the results of the simulation software.
The Use of Sub-Micron Particle Size Calcium Carbonate Filler and Ester Modified Processing Lubricant Systems to Add Value or Performance to Rigid PVC Formulations
Robert A. Lindner, May 2004
Formulators are constantly being asked to lower cost, improve performance, or both. This paper addresses this problem by reporting on the evaluation of an old standard calcium stearate paraffin lube system and one micron filler, vs. sub-micron fillers with ester modified lube systems.In the past this approach has been successful in allowing the use of lower modifier levels, or higher filler levels, without loss of properties, with modifier levels lowered from 4.5 to 3.0phr. This paper answers the question, “Is there any merit to using this approach when the modifier ranges from 2 to 0phr?” with the goal of eliminating the modifier altogether.
Strength, Toughness, Lifetime and Reliability of Plastics in Engineering Applications
A. Chudnovsky, May 2004
Major factors affecting short term and longterm performance of plastics in engineering applications include a) chemical makeup and molecular architecture, additives etc; b) material and parts manufacturing conditions; c) installation and service conditions that include load, loading rate, temperature and other environmental conditions. Successful design of plastic components for intended application requires an understanding of the role of the above factors together with economic considerations that account for a cost of fabrication as well as for a price of failure. Material characterization and ranking with respect to strength, toughness and durability provide a basis for rational design with plastics. There are industrial standards and regulations develop to assist in product selection. Advantages and limitations of widely publicized standards and methods for durability and lifetime of engineering thermoplastics will be illustrated by examples of field failure analysis. Methodology of material durability and structural reliability assessment will be discussed.
Aspects of Yield and Fracture of Polymers and Their Nanocomposites
Alan J. Lesser, May 2004
The physical and mechanical behavior of nano-scale reinforced polymers is currently receiving a significant amount of interest in the scientific arena. One of the more controversial aspects discussed is associated with the role the interface has on the physical state and bulk properties of the resulting composite. Another aspect is that associated with length scale effects necessary for energy dissipation in polymer matrix composites and the role of nanocomposites in this arena. These issues are discussed in contrast to reinforcements evaluated over a range of length scales ranging between micron and molecular length scases.
Applicability and Limitations of Fracture Mechanics Concepts for Lifetime Prediction of Polyethylene Pipes
R.W. Lang, W. Balika, G. Pinter, Z. Major, May 2004
The traditional method to compare different types and grades of plastics as to their performance potential for pressurised plastics pipes consists of stress rupture experiments with pipes under constant internal pressure. Based upon the observation that long-term pipe failure generally is governed by a two stage process consisting of a crack initiation stage and a period of stable, slow crack growth (SCG), various methods of fracture mechanics have been applied in the last two decades to study and characterise the SCG resistance of PE pipe grade materials.The paper will provide an overview of the various approaches including concepts of linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) and elastic-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM), with a particular focus on their applicability and limitations in terms of lifetime prediction, on the one hand, and their potential for quick material comparisons and material rankings, on the other. From an experimental point of view the characterisation methods include monotonic fracture tests over a wide loading rate range, creep crack growth and fatigue crack growth tests, and full notch creep tests (FNCT) with square and round bar specimens in air and liquid surfactant environments.
Effect of Process Zone on Tear Resistance of Polymeric Films
S. Wu, K. Sehanobish, May 2004
Tear resistance is a critical requirement for polymeric film for applications such as packaging and imaging. Tear resistance is measured using the Elmendorf tear, trouser tear, and single edge notch tests. It was observed that in many cases the increase of tear resistance was results of crack curving. The mechanism of crack curving and the effect of process zone on crack curving are investigated in this paper. Crack curving during tear process is attributed to the process zone geometry, material orientation or damage orientation inside the process zone, and the large stretching or crack bluntness that create a mix mode fracture process. The effect of film orientation on process zone formation, crack curving, and the tear resistance is also investigated.
Accelerated Test for Stress Corrosion Crack Initiation in PB Tubing
Xiqun Niu, Wen Zhou, May 2004
The Stress Corrosion Cracking (also called Environmental Stress Cracking) process in Polybutylene (PB) tubing consists of three stages: 1) Crack initiation, 2) Slow crack growth, and 3) Dynamic crack propagation. The first two stages primarily determine the useful lifetime of PB tubing, since the third stage occurs in a relatively short time interval. In this paper, an examination of PB field failures, observation of crack initiation mechanisms, and evidences of chemical degradation as a primary cause of failure are presented. To evaluate crack initiation time in mechno-chemical conditions, a modification of ASTM standard environmental stress cracking technique is employed to accelerate the crack initiation process in PB and a simple extrapolation technique is proposed to estimate the time of crack initiation in service conditions.
Creep of Polyphthalamide (PPA) under Compression and Temperature
Ron Li, May 2004
Polyphthalamide (PPA) with fiber reinforcement is widely used in electronics as connector housing materials. In high temperature applications, the material undergoes creep. Creep deformation is further amplified when the material is under mechanical loading. This paper addresses PPA creep under temperature and compression loading. A modified time hardening model is shown to fit the experimental data very well. All parameters for the modified time hardening model are provided in the paper. Creep strain as a function of temperature, stress and time is discussed in details. Finite element model is presented to analyze creep strain for application conditions. For a screw tightening mechanism where PPA is under compression, clamping retention is analyzed as a result of material creep. Final discussions also include interactions between creep and pressure relaxation caused by creep, and its effect on clamping retention.
Assessment of Polycarbonate Toughness by Creep Test
Wen Zhou, Alexander Chudnovsky, Clive P. Bosnyak, Kalyan Sehanobish, May 2004
The problems associated with fracture toughness as a material parameter is addressed through studies of the crack and associated process zone developed under creep loading with polycarbonate. Fracture toughness, G1C, increased 40% with a 5% decrease in creep load, which shows it is not a material parameter. The time interval from steady crack growth to ultimate failure is even more sensitive to the creep stresses. It was found that a gradient of shear band density exists within the process zone which plays a strong role in the above measures of fracture toughness and lifetime. This finding is incorporated into a model for crack and process zone interaction, the crack-layer model.
Application of Acoustic Emission Technique for the Quality Control of Epoxy Coatings on Steel Substrate
H. Wu, H. Chen, H. Pham, N. Jivraj, M. Franca, May 2004
The quality of epoxy coatings on steel substrate mainly depends on their cohesion and adhesion properties. In this study the application of acoustic emission (AE) technique in coating quality control was investigated for two coating formulations and three substrates with different surface treatments. Research results showed that AE method can effectively differentiate epoxy coatings based on their cohesion and adhesion properties. All available AE parameters were ranked according to their effectiveness in discriminating coating formulation and substrate surface treatment.
Micro-Deformation and Failure in Polymeric Materials as Studied by In-Situ Tensile Test in a Transmission Electron Microscope (Tem)
Houxiang (Sean) Tang, Robert Cieslinski, Nikhil E. Verghese, Noorallah Jivraj, May 2004
This report describes a method for the study of micro-deformation mechanisms of polymeric materials using tensile straining stages in transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The straining stages allow the in-situ observation of morphological changes while tensile strain is applied to a material over a temperature range - 165 °C up to 500 °C. The application of this technique to different polymeric materials will be described. Micro-deformation mechanisms observed in the in-situ deformation study will be correlated to macroscopic mechanical test results. Implication for materials designing and failure mechanisms will be discussed.
Applicability and Limitations of the FNCT-Methodology to Predict the Long Term Failure Behavior of Polyethylene-Pipe Materials
Markus Haager, Gerald Pinter, Reinhold W. Lang, May 2004
The Full Notch Creep Test (FNCT) is widely used to characterize slow crack growth (SCG) in polyethylene (PE) pipe materials, especially in Europe. The test is currently standardized in ISO 16770.3 and EN 12814-3 in order to establish uniform test conditions enabling the use of FNCT for material specifications. Some important questions concerning the test conditions (e.g. surface-active solution, notching procedure, etc.) remain to be answered. In the research project presented here, a detailed study of the influence of various test parameters was carried out. The applicability and limitations of the methodology are discussed.
Mechanical Properties and Behavior of Polymeric Materials Simulated by Molecular Dynamics
Witold Brostow, António M. Cunha, Ricardo Simões, Júlio C. Viana, May 2004
We have used computer simulations to investigate the behavior of polymeric materials under a uniaxial tensile force. The simulations allow us to follow the behavior of individual macromolecular chains at the molecular level during deformation and thus study the deformation mechanisms developing up to fracture under different loading conditions.The influence of micro-structural features on the mechanical properties has also been investigated. For this we simulate materials with varying skin-core ratio and orientation of the chains. Although we use simplified models for the structure of the skin and core regions, the behavior of the simulated materials is akin to that observed in real materials.From the simulations we have gained a better understanding of the structure-properties relationships in polymeric materials. This knowledge can be used to create materials with improved properties.

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