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

Isothermal Thermogravimetric Analysis to Study Oxidation Kinetics of Polypropylene
Allison A. Calhoun, May 2007

The oxidation kinetics of unstabilized polypropylene (PP) was analyzed by isothermal thermal gravimetric analysis (iTGA). Oxygen incorporation led to an initial weight gain before a dramatic decrease in weight as confirmed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The weight loss was attributed to the release of low molecular weight oxidation products. The time until the onset of weight gain as a function of temperature was used to determine the activation energy for the oxidation reaction. For PP the activation energy was determined to be 155kJ/mole. Literature values differ from this number from -28% (1) to 55%(2).

Controlling Morphology in Cocontinuous Polymer Blends
Joel R. Bell, Carlos R. Lopez-Barron, Christopher W. Macosko, May 2007

Cocontinuous morphologies, distinguished by the mutual interpenetration of two polymer phases, allow for enhanced mechanical properties, static charge dissipation, and barrier properties. Compatibilizers, e.g. block copolymers (bcp), are often added to hinder phase coarsening in blends of immiscible polymers and can improve adhesion at interfaces. We have studied the effect of bcp on the cocontinuous morphology of polystyrene (PS)/polyethylene (PE) and PS/poly (methylmethacrylate) PMMA model blends using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with image analysis, 3D synchrotron x-ray microtomography, mercury porosimetry, solvent extraction, and rheology. We have shown that an optimal bcp suppresses coarsening in these blends and widens the range of cocontinuity.

The Impact of Shear Rate on Warpage with a Focus on Shear Imbalances in Neat and Filled Materials
Eric D. Baluh, Mikael S. Wagner, May 2007

Shear induced variation effects have been shown to cause imbalances in filling patterns in both single and multi-cavity molds. These effects, however, extend beyond just the way a cavity fills and can attribute to the way a part cools and warps. Neat and filled materials vary in shrinkage and warpage properties but both are affected by shear induced melt variations developed in the runner section. Using the somewhat opposite" shrinkage properties of a neat and fiber filled material will allow for an in depth understanding of how shear variations will affect materials with and without fillers during and after molding."

The Morphology-Actuation Relationships in Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) Membranes Cast with an Ionic Liquid
Rocco Viggiano, May 2007

Ionic Polymer-Metal Composites or IPMCs, are one type of electroactive polymers that display remarkable shape-altering properties. Most IPMCs are made up of a polymer membrane contained within metal electrodes, which are typically gold or platinum. When an IPMC is hydrated, counter-ions can move freely away from stationary anions toward an electrode when an electric current is induced. This is due to the hydrating liquid’s effect of solvating the cation. The result is the IPMC’s deflection toward the anode. IPMC membranes have advantages over traditional actuators in the fact that they lack moving parts and require very small voltages to operate.

Polymer Clay Nanocomposites with Improved Melt Strength
Tanmay Pathak, Krishnamurthy Jayaraman, May 2007

Melt strength or strain hardening of the melt in elongational flow is important for a variety of polymer processing operations. The effect of varying surface treatment on the montmorillonite was investigated in composites prepared with 5 wt% of differently treated clays and a functionalized polypropylene alone as the matrix. The strain hardening behavior in extensional flow was evaluated with the EVF attachment on the TA-ARES rheometer. While the dispersion was better with the primary amine treated montmorillonite, the nanocomposite with the two alkyl tail quaternary ammonium ion showed dramatically improved strain hardening.

Micromechanical Analysis of Interfacial Shear Strength of Aramid Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic Elastomers
Austin B. Coffey, May 2007

For the majority of composites and their intended applications, the transfer of stress from the point of application throughout the remainder of the composite structure is by a shearing mechanism. The interface between fiber and matrix therefore, plays a major role. This paper examines the drawbacks from conventional micromechanical testing of model composites and introduces the benefits of fragmentation testing of aramid fibers in a thermoplastic elastomer matrix using Raman spectroscopy. Accurate and precise measurements of the interfacial shear strength between fibers and matrix are attainable.

Tg in Polymer/Oligomer Athermal Blends
Wei Zheng, Sindee L Simon, May 2007

The glass transition behavior of poly(?-methyl styrene), its tridecamer, and an athermal blend with its hexamer is investigated using differential scanning calorimetry. The glass transition, Tg, of the blend is found to become broader than that of the pure materials. However, the absolute heat capacity of the blend remains unchanged. The length scale of the cooperatively rearranging regions of the samples, as well as previously studied pentamer, polymer, and blends, is estimated from Donth's fluctuation model. The broadening of Tg is found to accompany a decrease of the length scale. In addition, the correlation between Tg, fragility, and the length scale of CRR is also examined.

Crystallization of Shape Memory Polymer Blends
Olivier B. Arnoult, Patrick T. Mather, May 2007

Shape Memory Polymers (SMP) blends are of particular interest because they are easily processible, commercially available and recyclable. In this paper we study blends of PVDF (semi-crystalline, Tg=-35 °C, Tm=173 °C) and PVAc (amorphous, Tg=33 °C) which are miscible at all blending ratio (presence of a single Tg). Effects of composition as well as thermal histories on crystallization were investigated via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), parallel plate rheology and polarizing optical microscopy (POM). For the first time, evidence for two distinct crystalline forms was observed in a blend with PVAc and PVDF crystallized for all blending ratios. Rheological measurements show that the rubber plateau of the blend decreases with lower PVDF content because of lower density of physical crosslinks. Surprisingly, in the case of 30:70 PVDF:PVAc the highest rubber plateau was achieved by isothermal crystallization at temperature close to, but above, the crystallization point measured by DSC. Comparing rheological and optical results for crystallization kinetic, it can be inferred that PVDF crystallizes faster near a solid interface than in the bulk.

Investigation of Reversed Shear Induced Melt Imbalances in Injection Molds
Alex Ingram Beaumont, May 2007

It has been proven that shear induced melt variations cause both cavity to cavity and intra-cavity filling imbalances. Cavity to cavity imbalances have been shown to result from the shear induced melt variations becoming separated in a runner branch. The high sheared outer laminates will follow the inside corner side of a branching runner and the low sheared material will follow along the opposite side of a branching runner. Unsupported theories suggest that these imbalances are a result of the local shear at the corner itself. This paper presents a study which shows that there is an additional phenomenon that occurs at the corner of a runner which is unrelated to either of the above mentioned theories, and that the effects are opposite. These opposite effects can be significant and are shown to cause filling imbalances of over 20%.

Multilayer Coextrusion of Polypropylene Nanocomposite Materials
Michail K. Dolgovski, Paula D. Fasulo, Patrick Lee, Christopher W. Macosko, William R. Rodgers, May 2007

A multilayer coextrusion die was used to create polypropylene (PP) / organoclay nanocomposites and to study the stress effects on clay dispersion. Nanocomposites contained 5 wt% maleic anhydride grafted PP compatibilizer and 1 – 5 wt% organoclay. Nanocomposite layers were extruded opposite talc filled PS before being separated. Individual PP nanocomposite layers were tested for improvements in mechanical, thermal and barrier properties and were compared to theoretical predictions in order to determine an aspect ratio for the organoclay. Aspect ratios from theory were compared to those measured directly through TEM. A PP nanocomposite / elastomer system was also considered.

Electric Field Tailoring of Single Wall Carbon Nanotube and Carbon Nanofiber Polymer Composites
Sumanth Banda, Zoubeida Ounaies, May 2007

The performance of nanocomposites is affected by dispersion and patterning of the nanoinclusions in the polymer matrix. The main goal of this study is to manipulate high aspect ratio nanoinclusions such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs) in polymers using AC electric fields to tailor the mechanical and electrical properties in the resulting composites. While the electric field is applied, the polymer is cured to freeze-in the alignment. The specific objectives are: to achieve efficient dispersion of the nanoinclusions in the polymer solutions; to investigate the alignment in liquid polymers in terms of electric field magnitude and frequency; and to quantify the alignment using electrical characterization in the liquid state.

Stress-Strain Behavior and Crystallization during Uniaxial Drawn PET/MMT Nanocomposites above Glass Transition Temperature
Zhan-Song Yin, Han-Xiong Huang, May 2007

Uniaxial tensile tests of poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET)/montmorillonite(MMT) nanocomposites were preformed over a temperature range of 85°C-105°C and stretch rate of 7.5mm/s-12.5mm/s. The stress-strain curves consisted of three regions: the linear visoelasticity, the rubbery plateau and the strain hardening. The effects of temperature and stretch rate on stress-strain behavior were discussed. The results of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements indicated that the stretch lead the increase of the crystallinity degree of specimens. The wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) measurements revealed that the more perfect crystal structures were obtained with the increase of temperature and oriented along the stretch direction.

Structure Development and Mechanical Property Changes of Stretched Syndiotactic Polystyrene Film
Myeong-Ho Hong, James L. White, May 2007

In the study, we prepared uni- and biaxially stretched syndiotactic polystyrene films with various stretching ratio. As increasing stretching ratio, the film exhibited a cold crystallization peak while heating. The area of the cold crystallization peak was reduced with increasing stretching ratio, and the peak temperature lowered. Biaxially stretched films showed sharp and large cold crystallization peak compared to uniaxially stretched films. It was found that the Young's modulus and tensile strength generally increased by stretching ratio. The elongation at break was enhanced by increasing stretching ratio.

Rheology-Based Pore Size Estimation in Polyacrylamide Hydrogels for DNA Analysis
Jian Wang, Victor M. Ugaz, May 2007

The physiochemical properties of polyacrylamide hydrogels have made them important in a variety of biomedical applications including drug delivery, tissue engineering, and electrophoresis of charged biomolecules. In this paper, we perform a series of in-situ dynamic small-amplitude oscillatory shear measurements during photopolymerization of crosslinked polyacrylamide electrophoresis gels to investigate the relationship between rheology and parameters associated with the gelation process including UV intensity, monomer and crosslinker composition, and reaction temperature. These results are then combined with a simple model based on classical rubber elasticity theory to obtain estimates of the average gel pore size.

A Comparison of the Effects on Polypropylene Using Sterilizing Doses from Three Different Sources of Ionizing Radiation
Robert C. Portnoy, Anthony J. Berejka, Marshall R. Cleland, Richard A. Galloway, May 2007

The effects of high energy radiation on polypropylene were studied using three different sources of ionizing radiation: _, electron beam, high current X-radiation derived from electron beam sources. The deterioration of tensile, flexural and impact ductility were similar for specimens irradiated by each of the three sources in higher crystallinity formulations. At lower cr ystallinity, the differences were more substantial, generally involving crosslinking. These differences are attributed to the radiation exposure rates which vary in the reverse order to the degradation trend.

Tracking the Commercial Development Process
Margaret H. Baumann, May 2007

This paper will outline and detail successful commercialization best practices for plastics materials and processing systems. By understanding the distinct steps to a successful commercialization plan we hope to share a template that can be used to make the process shorter and/or more cost effective for industry participants.The template will require research will and due diligence in the following areas:Identify and explore all possible applicationsDetermine Technical deficiencies and develop a plan to address themIdentify and assess competitive technologiesDetermine total system cost for each applicationIdentify and understand Barriers in the Channel/Supply chain

Inter-Layer Adhesion in Co-Extruded Structures: Role of Melt Interfacial Viscoelastic Stresses during Flow through the Die
Bhaskar Patham, Nikhil Agashe, Rupali Davda, Himanshu Asthana, May 2007

Interlayer adhesion between a polycarbonate (PC) layer and a PC-ABS blend layer, in 3-layer films made by melt coextrusion in a multi-manifold die, was analyzed using nonlinear viscoelastic (NLVE) die-flow simulations with POLYFLOW. These simulations showed significant extensional stresses in the interface vicinity where the two melt layers come into contact for the first time. A Viscosity Normalized Nonlinearity Ratio" parameter was defined to correlate the simulated interfacial melt stresses and the observed adhesion behavior. Larger deviation of this parameter from a value of 1.0 (large disparities in melt extensional configuration across the interface) corresponded to poorer observed peel strength."

Designing Injection Molded Bioplastics Products
Rolf Koster, Bregtje van Dijken, Lobke van Erve, May 2007

The ongoing need to keep reducing trial-and error in product design definitely applies to plastics products, and perhaps even more to bioplastics. It remains essential to optimize unavoidable weak spots in injection molded products, such as flow weld lines. Critical product properties were investigated for a poly-hydroxybutyrate, an experimental wood fiber-filled poly-hydroxybutyrate, and a general purpose polystyrene for comparison. Specimens from products molded with poly-hydroxybutyrate were found to have quite good impact strengths in weld line regions. Certain non-trivial injection molding settings, which reduce the impact strength in neat product regions, were found beneficial for weld line properties.

Product Design Support for Nanocomposite Materials Application
Rolf Koster, Emre Tufekcioglu, Daniël Vlasveld, May 2007

Biopolymers offer sustainability advantages over oilbased polymers as well as unique new property profiles, in addition to the ones of oil-based polymers. Advantages of polymer nanocomposites include high reinforcing effectiveness at low additive concentrations, and greatly improved recyclability as compared with fiber-filled polymers. A project was initiated to address both practical nanocomposite behavior in products and product design with bio-based nanocomposites. Such design support is useful to facilitate conversion of new materials and technologies into design opportunities. Additionally, new and surprising opportunities may be very inspiring in early design stages.

Melt Intercalation/Exfoliation of Polystyrene – Sodium Montmorillonite Nanocomposites Using Sulfonated Polystyrene Ionomer Compatibilizers
R.A. Weiss, Nikhil Bhiwankar, May 2007

Quaternary ammonium salts of sulfonated polystyrene (SPS) were used as compatibilizers for melt-intercalation of polystyrene and pristine Na-montmorillonite. Tetraoctyl ammonium SPS and tetra-decyl ammonium SPS ionomeric compatibilizers produced significant exfoliation and a homogeneous dispersion of the polymer-clay nanocomposites. The morphology of the nanocomposites was characterized by WAXD and TEM and modulus was measured by DMTA. Image analysis was used to measure the percentage exfoliation. Exfoliation increased with increasing length of the alkyl chain of the ammonium counter-ion of the SPS ionomer.

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