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

Stabilisation of Polymer Matrix Polypropylene in LFT & New Directions
Paul Stassen, September 2006

PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2006.

Improving Productivity & Safety with Robotic Trimming
Paul Schuch, September 2006

PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2006.

Creep and Fatigue of Long Glass Reinforced Polypropylene Compounds
Peter Foss, September 2006

This paper details the creep and fatigue characteristics of several long glass reinforced polypropylene compounds that have been used in the development of a thermoplastic liftgate. Both the creep and fatigue data show stress levels associated with a composite part should be limited to 30 % of the failure strength at the maximum use temperature. Parts where there is considerable flow and orientation of these composites should limit stress levels in the cross-flow direction to less than 20 % of the failure strength in that direction.

Developing Polymer Nanocomposites for Automotive Applications
Patricia Tibbenham, September 2006

PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2006.

Nylon Nanocomposite (nanoSEAL™) for Improved Fuel Permeation Performance
Paul Kennedy, September 2006

PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2006.

Carbon Nanotubes: An Additive with Multifunctional Properties & Current Commercial Applications
Andrew Rich, September 2006

PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2006.

Advanced Laser Surface Analyzer
Francis Krantz, September 2006

The Advanced Laser Surface Analyzer (ALSA) is the result of continuing development of surface smoothness analysis utilizing reflected laser lines to evaluate the surface smoothness of a part of panel. With the aging of the LORIA surface analyzer system obsolescing the equiptment the need for a replacement using current technology was seen. The ALSA surface analyzer system uses a current computer diode laser solid state laser line control devices a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) for image capturing and a MS Windows style environment for the software creating improvements in resolution speed and ease of use. These improvements were achieved while maintaining an excellent correlation with the surface waviness numbers generated by the LORIA the current standard for measuring long term surface waviness. The Gage Repeatability and Reliability (GR&R) and Correlation studies to validate the system were run utilizing 12 panels and 3 operators. The long term surface waviness of the panels ranged from flat black glass to structurl SMC with a wide range of surface waviness in between. Orange Peel is another aspect of surface quality that can be measured by this system. The values calculated were bases on the area under the intensity curve of the line and were confirmed to correlate to a standard set of DuPoint orange peel standards. The DOI value has been recalculated using the slope of the intensity curve and the width of the line to correlate to a visual image analysis procedure. The new system will give DOI totally independent of the current system and not a function of orange peel. The new MS Windows style software is more user friendly than before and allow the creating and saving summary data from a series of panels.

Tough Low Mass SMC Development for Transportation Applications
Robert Seats, September 2006

The need for low mass composites in the transportation industry has intensified as OEMs have looked for ways to reduce vehicle weight in the face of rising oil prices increasing regulation and political unrest in the major oil producing countries. Low mass SMC is not a new concept and has been practiced in the industry for several years. However the limitations of traditional low mass technology have restricted its use to specific applications. The combination of properties to produce low mass Class A SMC without glass microspheres while maintaining the required mechanical and physical properties has not been available. With the introduction of tough SMC technologies in the last few years molders as well as OEMs are demanding this technology for future applications to benefit from the performance advantages they bring. This paper will report on recent developments in tough low mass Class A SMC that achieve aspecific gravity of 1.6 and are more robust to molding conditions and exhibit lower water absorption properties than previous developments. Technology and properties of tough low mass structural SMC with a specific gravity of 1.15 and 1.5 will also be discussed with emphasis on improved mechanical properties as compared to traditional low mass SMC.

FACTS™ A Flow Analysis Cure Time System" for Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Plastics"
Francis Krantz, September 2006

The continuing development of the new type of spiral flow tool for evaluation of reinforced thermoset resin systems has led to the use of an improved sensor for determining gel and cure times. The use of this sensor which monitors the impedance values during the cure cycle gives us a better understanding of the reactions that are occurring during the cure. This understanding will aid us in quantifying the dynamic reactions and interactions of the components of the composite materials during the compression molding process. The new spiral flow tool is designed as a compression mold equipped with a real-time data collection system for the dielectric (impedance) values during cure. Temperature and pressure data is also acquired from the mold in two locations during the cure cycle. The temperature and pressure sensors are located at the charge area and along the flow channel. The collected data provides an in- sight into the complex behavior of the material during molding allowing one to compare and contrast different materials. The development of additional software to analyze and display the data collected makes it easier to understand the data and the data easier to use to compare formulation changes. The utilization of the new sensor which is already being used in production molds gives a good correlate to the cure on the production floor. Real time collection of the pressure temperature and cure data of the composite material as it flows through the mold makes this laboratory tool an industry standard for development and quality control of compression molding compounds.

Long Glass Fiber Polypropylene Technology for Automotive Applications
Jeroen Van Poucke, September 2006

The use of long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene (PP) in injection molded parts has found new applications due to ease of processing attractive economics and good balance of properties. The glass fiber provides mechanical strength and dimensional stability. Part performance is influenced by glass fiber length processing technique and resin formulation including coupling chemistry additives and colorants. The balance of material properties may allow substitution from engineered resins like PC/ABS blends ABS SAN SMA to lower cost resin options like polypropylene. The demonstrated property balance may allow reduction of wall thickness. Applications for long fiber reinforced thermoplastics continue to grow with new automotive applications in development such as front end carriers instrument panels door modules lower and overhead console reinforcements. Dow Automotive has been developing Long Glass Fiber Reinforced Polypropylene systems for various applications including instrument panels and front end systems. Dow has developed a fundamental understanding of the effect of additives and different processing methodologies and their effect on property performance. This paper reviews the mechanical properties for the various LGF processes from fully formulated granulates to direct processes as well as the impact of additives on performance.

New Composites Solutions for Automotive Underbody Systems
Harri Dittmar, September 2006

Although not a common feature on vehicles originating in the North American market European automakers have been installing underbody closure systems on their passenger vehicles for some time. Starting with small plates intended to protect the engine and gear box these shields have evolved into complete under-floor closure systems offering a number of benefits. First they reduce the vehicles aerodynamic drag which helps improve fuel economy ± vital in a market segment where fuel prices average 0.98 ± 1.56 ¼ /liter ($5-8USD/gal). Second they function much like the protective vinyl coating sprayed on the underside of most North American vehicles to reduce stone impingement salt spray and other damage to the undercarriage. Unlike the spray coatings however the shields also protect the undercarriage on bad roads and for off-road usage. Third they reduce noise ± both inside the cockpit for occupants as well as curb noise as vehicles pass through congested cities with narrow streets. As underbody closure systems have proliferated different materials and process development programs have been commercialized. Each participating OEM has sought to tailor these closure systems to achieve specific combinations of cost performance and mass for the various vehicle segments in which they compete. Although no single material / process option currently meets all OEM needs in all segments 3 technologies±all thermoplastic± have emerged in Europe to dominate underbody closure systems. This paper discusses current material / process options and the kinds of application criteria where each are best suited.

Injection Molded Polylactide (PLA) Composites for Automotive Applications
Angela Harris, September 2006

Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable compostable thermoplastic polymer produced from corn an annually renewable resource. In moving towards developing a sustainable vehicle use of materials such as PLA could greatly contribute to the goal of a more environmentally friendly vehicle. To date several non-automotive applications of PLA have been commercialized. These include PLA fiber/textile applications for clothing carpeting and linens; as well as blow molded articles for food packaging. Thus far for automotive use a single niche application of compression molded PLA has been developed. Here we seek to optimize the injection molding process conditions and composition of PLA composites for automotive interior applications. The effects of adding various reinforcements to the PLA resin for property improvements were assessed. Crystallinity modulus and strength properties were evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) tensile and flexuarl testing.

Poly(lactic acid) Nanocomposites: Fabrication Microstructure & Performance
Johanne Denault, September 2006

The preparation of nanoclay-reinforced poly(lactic acid) (PLA) nanocomposites by means of melt processing has been investigated. In order to optimize the dispersion of the nanoclays and the nanoclay-matrix interface strong interaction between the nanoclay and the polymer matrix is required preferably at the atomic level. Different chemistries of the organo-nanoclay have been carefully considered in order to optimize the chemical interaction between the organic and inorganic phases during processing. Various processing conditions have been examined with the aim of minimizing the degradation and oxidation of the materials both the matrix and the organo-nanoclay while at the same time maximizing clay dispersion and the interaction between the polymer matrix and the clay. X-ray diffraction scanning electron microscopy (SEM) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) were used to respectively characterize the dispersion of the nanoclay the crystalline structure and the mechanical behavior of the PLA nanocomposites. The relationship between formulation structure and performance is discussed.

Use of Agricultural Materials In Flexible Polyurethanes for Automotive Applications
Cynthia Flanigan, September 2006

The use of renewable materials in commercial products has gained attention over the past several years. Biomaterials can offer significant advantages over conventional materials such as: sustainability reduction of petroleum dependence lighter weight of components and potential lower cost. In our studies we demonstrate the use of soy-derived materials in two primary thermoset applications: sheet molding compounds (SMC) and polyurethane foam. SMC composites were produced using soy resin in place of a portion of the vinyl ester resin to evaluate mechanical performance process capabilities and component performance. In addition composite reinforcements of continuous hemp fiber non-woven hemp mats fiberglass and hybrids (fiberglass/continuous hemp twine mixtures) were examined. Results indicate that the soy resin composites demonstrate equivalent properties to those of the vinyl ester resin composites and are equally able to be molded in to complex geometries. While substitution of glass reinforcement with natural fibers was found to reduce the mechanical performance of the composites hybrid composites of glass and hemp fibers provided promising results. Hydroxylized soy oil has also been used as a polyol in flexible polyurethane foam formulations. Foam formulations have been optimized for mechanical and processing performance. One of the key technical challenges of soy foams are their inherent odor. Two odor reduction methods will be discussed including a novel low odor method to functionalize soybean oil.

The Use of Fungal Treatment for Modification of Industrial Hemp Fibre for Use in Composites
Kim Pickering, September 2006

Industrial hemp fibre is one of the strongest and stiffest available natural fibres and therefore has great potential in composite materials [1]. Incorporated into a thermoplastic matrix it gives a structural material that is cheap light-weight and recyclable. However natural fibres are commonly incompatible with common moulding thermoplastics such as polypropylene which limits the performance of the composites produced. The main objective of the current work was to investigate the use of fungi to treat hemp fibre to create better bonding characteristics in natural fibre reinforced polypropylene composites. X-ray diffraction (XRD) lignin testing thermal analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to characterise the effect of treatment on hemp fibres. A combined alkali and fungal fibre treatment produced a composite tensile strength of 48.3 MPa representing a 32% increase as well as increased thermal stability compared to composites with untreated fibre.

Hemp Fibre Reinforced Polypropylene Composites: Effect of Fibre Treatment and Coupling Agent on Composite Strength and Fibre/Matrix Interfacial Bonding
Gareth Beckermann, September 2006

Industrial hemp fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites are increasingly being used in the automotive industry. These composites are strong stiff lightweight and recyclable but possess mechanical properties well below their potential values. The aim of this research was to improve the composite tensile strength and fibre/ matrix interfacial bond strength by means of fibre treatment and use of a coupling agent. Hemp fibre was digested in a small pressure vessel with either a solution of 10wt% NaOH or 5wt% NaOH/2wt% Na2SO3. Single fibre tensile tests were performed on treated and untreated fibres and it was found that the 5wt% NaOH / 2wt%Na2SO3 treatment produced the strongest fibres with a good level of fibre separation. The treated fibres polypropylene and a maleicanhydride modified polypropylene (MAPP) coupling agent were then compounded in a twin-screw extruder and injection moulded into composite tensile test specimens. Tensile tests revealed that the optimum composite consisted of polypropylene with 40wt% fibre (treated with 5wt% NaOH /2wt%Na2SO3) and 4wt% MAPP and had a tensile strength of 50.5 MPa and Young’s modulus of 5.31 GPa. The effect of MAPP on the interface of 5wt% NaOH / 2wt% Na2 SO3 treated hemp fibre/polypropylene composites was assessed by means of the single fibre fragmentation test. It was found that a MAPP content of 4wt% greatly improved the stress transfer efficiency at the fibre/matrix interface.

Wood & Flax Fibre Polyolefin Composites
Johanne Denault, September 2006

In this work natural fiber and wood composites based on neat and recycled polypropylene (PP) were fabricated by melt processing. Different formulations including various reinforcement content different types of coupling agents different types of reactive additives and an impact modifier were developed. The reinforcements were in the form of natural fibers like banana flax rice husk and palm fibers and of wood sawdust. For the long fiber composite systems processing was done by compression molding of piles of long fiber mat and extruded polypropylene film. For the short fiber composite the samples were prepared by extrusion followed by injection molding. The tensile flexural and impact performance were characterized and all composites show superior mechanical properties when compared with the pristine matrix. Mechanical performance of the wood composites was also evaluated before and after conditioning in water for 1 and 7 days. Results indicate that the composites resist to humidity very well. The results also demonstrate the effect of formulations on the performance of the recycled composites.

BMC - Taking Automotive Composites to a New Dimension
Brett Weber, September 2006

BMC composites have long been used in automotive applications because of the excellent mechanical properties creep and thermal resistance. Components such as headlamp reflectors engine/valve covers front timing chain covers and small electric motors have benefited from this technology for many years. Recent advances in the formulations have opened up new opportunities in automotive under the hood applications. BMC composite material technology is quickly finding its way into applications that require extremely tight molded dimensions and dimensional stability over a temperature range. Some of these applications include Electronic Throttle Controls (ETC) Air Control Valves (ACV) and transmission components. This paper investigates the critical characteristics of these performance parts and the properties of BMC composite which help make the system work.

New Developments in PUR Composite Spray Molding PUR-CSM Technology for Multiple Processes
Jim Riley, September 2006

Hennecke with its PUR-CSM Technology developed a flexible and efficient production system that has already proven successful in numerous applications. There are now six (6) PUR-CSM variants of the system w hich address various transportation parts¶ m anufacturing needs Multitech multi layered composite construction; Baydur thin walled high strength glass reinforced; Baypreg NF high strength reinforced with natural fibers; Baypreg–high strength/low weight sandwich structure with added fiberglass partial reinforcement capability; Baytec polyurethane spray skin technology; Bayflex filled flexible polyurethane with enhanced properties especially acoustical.

EMI Shielding Solutions Using Stainless Steel Filled Thermoplastic Composites
James Fagan, September 2006

With the increasing amount of onboard electronics and microprocessor-controlled systems on automobiles it is important that the electronic sub-assemblies (ESAs) in a vehicle are designed to be electromagnetically compatible (EMC). Design for electromagnetically compatibility can be achieved in a number of ways including the use of enclosures or housings with shielding capabilities. There are a variety of enclosure design options to provide shielding to help meet EMC requirements including the use of conductive thermoplastic composites that offer intrinsic shielding. This paper will present information on GE Plastics LNP* Faradex* melt process able stainless steel filled thermoplastic composites and their potential for use as electromagnetic shields. Shielding models product performance features along with design and processing information critical to achieving effective shielding will be discussed.

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