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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
PLA PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT: IMPROVING THE PRACTICAL HEAT RESISTANCE OF POLYLACTIC ACID (PLA)
Shixiong Zhu , Roger Avakian, May 2010
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a renewable polymer with many unique features including compostability. However, PLA suffers from several performance deficiencies which limit its market potential. A key deficiency is its ability to withstand elevated use temperatures above 55 ?§C. PolyOneƒ??s objective was to explore a range of approaches to identify a practical path to improved heat performance while seeking to maximize renewable content and processability. This paper addresses the industry need for a high renewable content polymer with practical heat resistance without relying on any additional thermal treatments such as annealing. Various PLA-based compounds were prepared and screened using DMA in an effort to correlate results to the heat distortion temperature (HDT) exhibited by injection molded PLA. It was concluded that polymer blends offered the greatest commercial viability of all the approaches considered under normal injection molding conditions. Multi-phase compatible polymer blends were found to have the most significant impact on blend properties. All components of the preferred blend composition are commercially available today. Heat performance can be tailored based upon performance requirements and bio-content objectives. The PLA content of the blends studied varied from 72% to 35%, while the corresponding HDT (under 0.455 MPa load) ranges from 57 ?§C to 101 ?§C. Potential increased bio-derived contents are also considered.
STUDIES ON THE USE OF POLYBUTENE AS A MATRIX FOR WOOD-PLASTIC COMPOSITES
K. A. Afrifah , R. A. Hickok , L. M. Matuana, May 2010
Currently commercialized wood plastic composites (WPCs) are brittle and are produced using commodity plastics such as HDPE PP PVC etc. This study examined the feasibility of using a ductile plastic such as polybutene-1 (PB-1) as a matrix for manufacturing WPCs with improved toughness. The tensile flexural and impact properties of injection molded samples with varying proportions of wood flour were characterized. The results of the mechanical properties of the composites were compared to those of HDPE and PP-based WPCs. The tensile and flexural properties were lower than those of HDPE and PP. In contrast the impact strength of PB-1 was superior to those of HDPE and PP and thus confirmed it suitability for use as a matrix in composites intended for use where they may be subjected to high impacts.
STUDIES ON THE USE OF POLYBUTENE AS A MATRIX FOR WOOD-PLASTIC COMPOSITES
K. A. Afrifah , R. A. Hickok , L. M. Matuana, May 2010
Currently commercialized wood plastic composites (WPCs) are brittle and are produced using commodity plastics such as HDPE, PP, PVC, etc. This study examined the feasibility of using a ductile plastic such as polybutene-1 (PB-1) as a matrix for manufacturing WPCs with improved toughness. The tensile, flexural, and impact properties of injection molded samples with varying proportions of wood flour were characterized. The results of the mechanical properties of the composites were compared to those of HDPE and PP-based WPCs. The tensile and flexural properties were lower than those of HDPE and PP. In contrast the impact strength of PB-1 was superior to those of HDPE and PP and thus confirmed it suitability for use as a matrix in composites intended for use where they may be subjected to high impacts.
CONTINUOUS EXTRUSION PRODUCTION OF MICROCELLULAR RIGID PVC
Carlos A. Diaz , Laurent M. Matuana, May 2010
This study investigated the effect of PVC formulation on the cell morphology of rigid PVC foamed with supercritical CO2 in a continuous extrusion process. Cell morphology was controlled by blending two acrylic based processing aids (all-acrylic foam modifier K-400 and acrylic-based impact modifier KM-334) using a mixture design. The experimental results indicated that fusion is not the only criterion to control the density or expansion achieved in microcellular rigid PVC foams. The melt must have a viscosity low enough to allow bubble formation and growth as well as melt elasticity/strength high enough to prevent cell coalescence.
THE OPTICAL IMPACT OF LOW-INDEX INORGANIC FILLERS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF PLASTIC ARTICLES PIGMENTED WITH TITANIUM DIOXIDE
Sandra P. Davis, Philipp M. Niedenzu, Austin H. Reid, Jr., May 2010
The primary uses of titanium dioxide pigments in polymer applications are to impart opacity to and provide protection from degradation by ultraviolet light for pigmented plastic articles. With regard to the former, misconceptions exist regarding the possibility of replacing titanium dioxide with inorganic materials of lower refractive index without impacting opacity. We provide in this paper both the theoretical background and experimental evidence from film data that illustrate the impact on opacity performance of low-index fillers.
CHARACTERIZATION OF POLY (CAPROLACTONE)/CASSAVA STARCH BLENDS
Jiong Yu, Eric Wallis, May 2010
Three types of poly (caprolactone) / cassava starch blends were prepared by melt mixing. Type I were uncompatibilized blends, Type II were compatibilized with oxidized poly (caprolactone) and in Type III thermoplastic cassava starch had been used as dispersed phase. The samples were characterized by tensile tests, scanning electron microscopy, wide angle x-ray scattering, infra-red spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. The mechanical properties of the poly(caprolactone) rich blends were lower than those of neat poly(caprolactone). There were no large differences in mechanical behavior among the three systems evaluated. Nevertheless the mechanical performance was comparable to LDPE behavior, therefore these type of blends could substitute LDPE in several applications with a more ecologcal performance due to their complete biodegradation in less than a year.
RECENT ADDITIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR ROTATIONAL MOLDING
Jiong Yu , Eric Wallis, May 2010
Proper additive selection is essential in rotational molding due to the severe processing conditions and oxygen rich environment. In addition light stability is often an essential element for outdoor applications. In this paper we will review different classes of stabilizers their functions and effects on rotational molding process and product properties. New stabilizers with cycle time reduction and improved color characteristics will be highlighted with supportive field trial data. In addition to address the durability of rotomolded parts the performance of different light stabilizers will also be reviewed and compared.
POLYMER MODIFICATION WITH SPECIALTY HYDROCARBON FLUIDS
Charlie Y. Lin , Bruce A. Harrington , David B. Dunaway, May 2010
Specialty hydrocarbon fluids are used to enhance polyolefin formulations for improved performance. These specialty hydrocarbon fluids have uniquely defined structures and narrow molecular weight distributions that provide exceptional compatibility with olefin-based polymers elastomers plastomers and other rubber products. As a result the dispersion of specialty hydrocarbon fluids in the polymer can be readily achieved in the extruder by a simple melt blending process. Benefits for using these fluids have been demonstrated in both non-crosslinked and cross-linked polyolefin formulations and in highly filled systems. Benefits include improved processability flexibility elasticity durability and most importantly longer retention of polymer properties in applications with broad service temperature requirements. The plasticization effect provided by these fluids helps reduce the viscosity of modified polymer. They also improve the processability in terms of better flowability higher output and lower head pressure and extruder torque. These fluids are free of aromatics and chlorine. They do not interfere with the common vis-breaking grafting or cross-linking agents used in blend formulations. In comparison to traditional process oils they exhibit improved long-term permanence due to their low volatility and high thermal and oxidative stability. Applications requiring increased flexibility durability and lower permanent set can benefit from the extremely low glass transition temperature of hydrocarbon fluids. This paper reviews the utility of specialty hydrocarbon fluids in several polyolefin-based polymer formulations for wire and cable pipe and tubing and automotive applications.
POLYMER MODIFICATION WITH SPECIALTY HYDROCARBON FLUIDS
Charlie Y. Lin , Bruce A. Harrington , David B. Dunaway, May 2010
Specialty hydrocarbon fluids are used to enhance polyolefin formulations for improved performance. These specialty hydrocarbon fluids have uniquely defined structures and narrow molecular weight distributions that provide exceptional compatibility with olefin-based polymers, elastomers, plastomers, and other rubber products. As a result, the dispersion of specialty hydrocarbon fluids in the polymer can be readily achieved in the extruder by a simple melt blending process.Benefits for using these fluids have been demonstrated in both non-crosslinked and cross-linked polyolefin formulations and in highly filled systems. Benefits include improved processability, flexibility, elasticity, durability and, most importantly, longer retention of polymer properties in applications with broad service temperature requirements. The plasticization effect provided by these fluids helps reduce the viscosity of modified polymer. They also improve the processability in terms of better flowability, higher output, and lower head pressure and extruder torque. These fluids are free of aromatics and chlorine. They do not interfere with the common vis-breaking, grafting or cross-linking agents used in blend formulations. In comparison to traditional process oils, they exhibit improved long-term permanence due to their low volatility and high thermal and oxidative stability. Applications requiring increased flexibility, durability and lower permanent set can benefit from the extremely low glass transition temperature of hydrocarbon fluids. This paper reviews the utility of specialty hydrocarbon fluids in several polyolefin-based polymer formulations for wire and cable, pipe and tubing, and automotive applications.
NOVEL ECO-FR" STYRENIC POLYMERS"
Tze-Wei Liu , Satish K. Gaggar , Sushant Agarwal , Adam Al-Mulla , Rakesh K. Gupta, May 2010
Flame retardants (FRs) additives are commonly usedin polymeric materials, with non-halogenated flameretardants being preferred for environmental, health andsafety reasons. However, developing non-halogenated FRsis a challenge for styrenic polymers such as acrylonitrilebutadiene-styrene (ABS) since they burn very easily anddo not produce any char. Here, we have developed ahalogen-free flame retardant system for ABS using woodor cellulose as a charring material and ammoniumpolyphosphate (APP) as a catalyst. The use of theseadditives permits compounding and molding of ABS atlow temperatures. The resulting materials can achieve a V-0 or V-1 rating on UL-94 type tests.
POSS/PP NANOCOMPOSITES: CHARACTERIZATION AND PROPERTIES
Byoung-Jo Lee , Sayantan Roy , Sadhan C. Jana, May 2010
It is known that molecules of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) can self-assemble into nanoparticles by bottom-up self assembly process. This was used in this work to obtain nanocomposites of polypropylene (PP) and POSS. A compatible sorbitol type nucleating agent aided dispersion POSS in PP melt and provided templates for self-assembly into 50-200 nm particles during fiber spinning process. A typical polypropylene formulation containing 0.3 wt% nucleating agent and 5-10 wt% POSS was spun into fibers with close to 70% reduction in diameter and showed 40-45% increase in modulus and 70-75% increase in yield strength compared to unfilled PP. An optimum concentration of POSS was identified.
DEVELOPMENT OF NOVEL ONE-STEP HYBRID PROCESSING
Jennifer K. Lynch, Thomas J. Nosker, Kendall Mills, Keith Luker, May 2010
The plastics processing industry typically must pre-compound using extrusion prior to part fabrication by injection molding (IM). The aim of this work is to implement a novel method that combines compounding and part fabrication into one processing step, thereby eliminating a costly, heat-intensive extra step. Poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT) is blended with 10, 15, 20, and 30 % fiberglass (FG) by three methods, including standard IM, pre-compounding followed by standard IM, and a novel, one-step IM process using an innovative mixing screw design. The effect of processing method on the mechanical, impact, and thermal properties of a FGPTT composite is presented.
GREEN COMPOSITES” FROM A CONJUGATED SOYBEAN OIL RESIN USING CORN STOVER AS A NATURAL FIBER REINFORCEMENT
Daniel P. Pfister , Richard C. Larock, May 2010
Novel “green composites” have been prepared using a conjugated soybean oil resin and corn stover as a natural fiber. Approximately 68 million metric tons of corn stover the residue remaining after harvest is available annually in the United States. The effect of the amount of the natural fiber the length of the fiber and the amount of the crosslinker on the structure and thermal and mechanical properties of the composites has been determined using Soxhlet extraction analysis thermogravimetric analysis dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile testing. Increasing the amount of corn stover and decreasing the length of the fiber results in significant improvements in the mechanical properties of the composites. The Young’s moduli and tensile strengths of the composites range from 386 to 1324 MPa and 3.5 to 6.5 MPa respectively.
GREEN COMPOSITES" FROM A CONJUGATED SOYBEAN OIL RESIN USING CORN STOVER AS A NATURAL FIBER REINFORCEMENT"
Daniel P. Pfister , Richard C. Larock, May 2010
Novel green composites" have been prepared using a conjugated soybean oil resin and corn stover as a natural fiber. Approximately 68 million metric tons of corn stover the residue remaining after harvest is available annually in the United States. The effect of the amount of the natural fiber the length of the fiber and the amount of the crosslinker on the structure and thermal and mechanical properties of the composites has been determined using Soxhlet extraction analysis thermogravimetric analysis dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile testing. Increasing the amount of corn stover and decreasing the length of the fiber results in significant improvements in the mechanical properties of the composites. The Youngƒ??s moduli and tensile strengths of the composites range from 386 to 1324 MPa and 3.5 to 6.5 MPa respectively."Novel green composites" have been prepared using a conjugated soybean oil resin and corn stover as a natural fiber. Approximately 68 million metric tons of corn stover the residue remaining after harvest is available annually in the United States. The effect of the amount of the natural fiber the length of the fiber and the amount of the crosslinker on the structure and thermal and mechanical properties of the composites has been determined using Soxhlet extraction analysis thermogravimetric analysis dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile testing. Increasing the amount of corn stover and decreasing the length of the fiber results in significant improvements in the mechanical properties of the composites. The Youngƒ??s moduli and tensile strengths of the composites range from 386 to 1324 MPa and 3.5 to 6.5 MPa respectively."
PHOTOINITIATORS FOR UV LED CURING OF ACRYLATE THIN FILMS
Yong Lu , Linjie Zhu , Ming-Wan Young , Costas G. Gogos, May 2010
The use of Ultra Violet Light Emitting Diodes (UV LEDs) for carrying out rapid photo-initiated polymerizations (curing processes) has gained much attention recently due to several advantages that UV LED’s hold over traditional UV curing systems such as lower unit cost with no bulb consumption through replacement minimal maintenance and cooler curing source temperatures. UV LED’s have been applied in the fields of coating and dental science. In this study UV LED curing of ultra-thin films of acrylates was studied with photo Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). By monitoring the amount of heat released during curing the photoinitiators were screened; the effect of LED irradiation time on the conversion has also been studied.
PHOTOINITIATORS FOR UV LED CURING OF ACRYLATE THIN FILMS
Yong Lu , Linjie Zhu , Ming-Wan Young , Costas G. Gogos, May 2010
The use of Ultra Violet Light Emitting Diodes (UV LEDs) for carrying out rapid photo-initiated polymerizations (curing processes) has gained much attention recently, due to several advantages that UV LEDƒ??s hold over traditional UV curing systems, such as lower unit cost with no bulb consumption through replacement, minimal maintenance and cooler curing source temperatures. UV LEDƒ??s have been applied in the fields of coating and dental science. In this study, UV LED curing of ultra-thin films of acrylates was studied with photo Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). By monitoring the amount of heat released during curing, the photoinitiators were screened; the effect of LED irradiation time on the conversion has also been studied.
RHEOLOGICAL BEHAVIOR OF POLYACRYLONITRILE COPOLYMERS PLASTICIZED WITH WATER
Kaan Gunes, Avraam I. Isayev, May 2010
The presence of water can dramatically lower the melting point of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) homo- or copolymers and make it possible to melt-spin high acrylonitrile (AN) content PAN fibers. However, the behavior of PAN-water melt has not been adequately investigated and the rheology data for PAN-water melt is not available in literature. We developed pressurized capillary rheometer and used it in PAN/Vinyl Acetate (VA)-H2O viscosity measurement successfully. The shear viscosity at 195?øC decreases as water content increases from 17 wt-% to 23 wt-%. The rheology of PAN-water melt can be useful in characterizing the melt and spinning PAN precursor fibers.
ULTRASONICALLY-AIDED EXTRUSION OF PEN/LCP BLENDS
Kaan Gunes , Avraam I. Isayev, May 2010
Ultrasonic extrusion of polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), LCP and their blends was studied. Rheological, morphological, thermal and mechanical properties of the samples were investigated. Viscosity of PEN decreased with ultrasonic treatment, while that of the blends decreased at an amplitude of 10 ?¬m. Viscosity of LCP was unaffected by ultrasound. Blends treated at an amplitude of 10 ?¬m had larger LCP particles in moldings, leading to reduced mechanical properties in the blends. The results indicated that ultrasound had the predominant effect of degrading the PEN matrix and hindering LCP fibrillation in the blends, thereby masking possible compatibilization effects introduced by ultrasound.
PERFORMANCE OF HYBRID TOOLING IN MICRO INJECTION MOLDING
Ashley R. Kropf, May 2010
Previously, metal-polymer hybrid tooling improved the replication quality of microscale features due to the insulating effect of the polycarbonate in the tooling. In this research, hybrid tooling fabricated with a higher temperature polymer was evaluated for its resistance to deformation and ability to consistently reproduce parts over thousands of molding cycles. The polyimide-based hybrid tooling produced polystyrene and polycarbonate parts with consistently good depth ratios and no loss in feature definition over 1000 molding cycles. Although the new hybrid tooling exhibited no deformation, the metal coating peeled off the polyimide substrate. The new hybrid tooling cooled about six times more slowly than steel and nickel tooling, a characteristic that enhanced replication with relatively low mold temperatures.
ENHANCED COPOLYMERIZATION OF PEN/PET BLENDS DURING ULTRASONICALLY-AIDED EXTRUSION
Kaan Gunes , Avraam I. Isayev, May 2010
PEN, PET, and their 50/50 blend were ultrasonically extruded at various amplitudes.Rheological, thermal, mechanical, morphological and spectroscopic characterizations of the untreated and ultrasonically treated samples were carried out. Fast homopolymerization during extrusion of PET was foundto occur at an ultrasonic amplitude of 7.5 ?¬m. In contrast,degradation of PEN was observed with ultrasonic treatment. Ultrasonic treatment at short residence time led to the enhancement of transesterification reaction in the PEN/PET blend, indicating that more copolymerization occurred during ultrasonic treatment.


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