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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Injector Technology for the Water Injection Technique (WIT)
The water injector is the centerpiece of the complete system configuration for the water injection technique. For a stable and reproducible process cycle, a well operating injector system is one of the basic demands. It is still unclear how the injector design effects the stability of the process and important part properties. Thus, different injector concepts have been developed and evaluated practically with different polymers. The first results presented in this paper suggest, that the injector orifice diameter and the ambient shape of the injector closure cap influence directly the part quality and the process stability.
Prediction of Temperature, Viscosity and Shear Stress during Steady State of Vibation Welding of Polyamide-6
A simple model was developed for the steady state phase of the vibration welding process using the lubrication approximation. The model predicts temperature and pressure at the interface, molten fluid film thickness, shear stress and shear rate as functions of weld pressure, amplitude, frequency, and penetration velocity. The melt viscosity was estimated, using the penetration velocity obtained from meltdown velocity, since data for melt viscosity of polyamide-6 at vibration molding conditions were not available. The model predicts temperature at the interface in a reasonable range, 7-37°C above the melting peak temperature. The overall predictions of the model are reasonable and they should be helpful in optimization of vibration welding process parameters.
Sacrificial Mold Embossing for High Density, High Aspect Ratio Micro/Nano Structures
An unconventional embossing method is evaluated in which de-embossing is avoided to prevent the deformation or damage of the polymer microstructure on the substrate due to one or more of the following issues involved in hot embossing process: higher feature density, higher aspect ratio, bad surface quality and under-cuts. In this study, a PDMS mold is used to transfer a SU-8 structure to a water-soluble polymeric stamp under low pressure and low temperature, which is used as the rigid tool in the following hot embossing and can be reused by being dissolved in water, an environmentally benign solvent. This method has potential uses in the replication of high aspect ratio microstructure on polymeric materials that cannot be easily achieved using other methods.
Carbon-Filled Polymer Composite Bipolar Plates for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCS)
Carbon-filled epoxy composites were developed as potential materials of bipolar plates in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). The synergistic effect of combining graphite and carbon black on conductivity of composites was investigated. All composites provided much higher in-plane electrical conductivity than the Department of Energy (DOE) target value of 100 S/cm, although through-plane conductivity was measured to be about 50 S/cm. The chemical stability of these materials was checked by using acid reflux in boiling aqueous sulfuric acid solution with a pH of 2. The thermal properties of these composites was investigated through DSC and TGA.
A Study of Ethylene Co-Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) / Montmorillonite Layered Silicate Interactions
A series of poly (ethylene co-vinyl alcohol) (EVOH) / montmorillonite layered silicate (MLS) nanocomposites were processed using a mini-extruder and evaluated by xray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and thermal analysis to determine the polymer/MLS interactions and morphologies. The nanocomposite materials were produced using different concentrations of MLS (3, 10 and 15% by weight) and EVOH that were equilibrated to 95% humidity and to dry conditions prior to processing. Most samples displayed an intercalated morphology with no significant changes with the presence of moisture.
Synthesis and Characterization of PMMA/Silica Nanocomposites
Thermal stability and mechanical properties of polymeric nanocomposites consisting of functionalized silica nano-particles (average diameter 75nm) embedded in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), with and without surface grafting of PMMA, were studied. Results from differential scanning calorimetry show an increase of Tg upon the introduction of the nano-particles, however, only to a limited extent. Similar results were observed in dynamic mechanic thermal analysis. The storage modulus also showed a slight increase less than 5%. Samples with PMMA grafted particles synthesized via in-situ polymerization in supercritical CO2 did not show an anticipated drastic improvement. This may result from the plasticizing effect of the stabilizer used the dispersion polymerization.
Optimization of Acrylic Components in Extruded Rigid PVC
In this study the effect of acrylic-based components, including process aids (PPA), on the rheological properties of rigid PVC formulation is investigated. A statistically designed experiment was set up to cover the effect of composition on the melt viscosity and the melt strength of the compound as a function of temperature. The effect of the acrylic components was studied in relation to the rheological properties such as capillary rheometry and melt strength. In the absence of an acrylic process aid, the PVC compound showed a loss of adhesion at the wall caused by a change in the microstructure and characterized by pressure oscillations and a dip in the melt strength trace. As the temperature is increased, the slippage appears to be minimized and the head pressure stabilized.
Characterization of Hybrid Block Copolymer Systems Developed through Blending
Ordered block copolymer materials contain randomly oriented grains with concomitant defects and grain boundaries. Effect of these grain boundaries on mechanical behavior of these materials is not well studied so far. This work investigates different Styrenic block copolymer compositions having spherical, cylindrical and lamellar morphologies. It was observed that by carefully compounding these styrenic block copolymers having different morphologies, it is possible to completely disrupt the local scale order and remove the grain boundaries present in these materials. Evaluation of these mixed systems was done with Small angle x-ray scattering and Transmission electron microscopy. Further, mechanical behavior of these mixed systems was studied.
Melt Intercalation of Poly(Lactic Acid) Nanocomposites: Fabrication Microstructure and Performance
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, field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEGSEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) were used to characterize the dispersion of the nanoclay, the crystalline structure and the mechanical behavior of the PLA nanocomposites, respectively. The relationship between formulation, structure, and performance is discussed.
Vibration Weldability Study for Automotive Interior Application Polypropylene
Different grades of Polypropylene copolymers being used for automotive interior applications have been evaluated for weldability of the vibration welding process. Vibration Amplitude (VA) and Melting Down Distance (MDD) are key process parameters of the vibration welding process and design consideration, while talc content, density, and melt flow rates are essential to influence material properties. Understanding of effects of both vibration amplitude and MDD will greatly help to optimize product design and increase manufacturing flexibility.DOE procedures to evaluate material weldability for the vibration welding process have been suggested by Park. In the same paper, how to define weldability for the material has been suggested. For more conclusive evaluation, both welding strength and failure modes of the welded plaques need to be investigated. Effects of the vibration amplitude and MDD on those key material properties have been studied by evaluating welding strength, elongation, and failure modes of welded plaques. Optimal vibration amplitudes associated with optimized melting down distances for all resins evaluated are provided in this paper.
An Overview of Innovative Technologies Based on 2005 Automotive Innovation Awards
This paper provides technical detail of key technologies selected as finalists during the 2005 Automotive Innovation Awards Ceremony. Process related innovations such as headliner with self reinforcing sunroof opening, partial mold behind integrated trim panel, fascia appliqué, thick sheet Paintless class A thermoformed rocker pane, bonded metal/plastic hybrid front end carrier and Material related innovations such are Cross linked expanded PE soft foam for seat halo, PP/PS/Nano composites for interior applications, New PC-silicon copolymers, and reactor TPO MIC for airbag will be discussed first. Exterior Applications such as Panorama Roof Module, class “A” carbon fiber reinforced epoxy fenders, all plastics glass run channel and composite in-bed trunk are described followed by Interior applications such as integrally molded airbag door, HVAC film valve, PUR cast skin, seamless passenger airbag lid are discussed in detail.
Bio-Fiber Composites from Recycled Polyropylene
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 contents, 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 humidity very well. The results also demonstrate the effect of formulations on the performance of the recycled composites.
Cost Reduction Opportunities in the Part/Mold Design and Engineering Process
Anyone who has worked in the plastics industry, even for a short time, knows that cost is a key if not the key factor in the decision to produce a part or assembly. Controlling production cost is an important step in a profitable molding operation. The most successful molding companies understand their own production costs and can quickly assess the cost effectiveness of producing a given component. It is not the only place, however, that provides opportunities to improve the bottom line.The “real” cost of a component begins with the initial concept. The initial vision of the component begins to lock in shapes and features. These shapes and features have a great influence throughout the design phase. It is during this phase of the process that these features and shapes become tooling and molding dreams or nightmares. It is also during the design phase that a number of significant opportunities exist to create a product which meets performance requirements at the lowest possible cost. This discussion will focus on some of those opportunities and hopefully provide some considerations to help the designer balance the struggle of cost vs. performance.Some of the key design and engineering factors that can influence final component cost are listed below:Concept DevelopmentMaterial Candidate SelectionPart/Assembly DesignDesign Optimization ProcessMold and Injection System Design & AnalysisDesigning for Special Manufacturing Processes
Thermal Conductivity Characterization of FRP Composites: Experimental
The focus of the present research is on thermal conductivity characterization of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in three directions (longitudinal, transverse and through-the-thickness). Tested composite samples are made of E-glass, or Carbon fiber in Vinyl ester resin. The characterization has been carried out using ‘Guarded heat flow meter method’ in accordance with ASTM E1530. Results showed that E-glass/Vinyl ester samples have a thermal conductivity of 0.35 ± 0.05 W/ m K, while the conductivity of carbon composites is higher in the fiber direction and lower in through-the-thickness direction. Addition of 10 wt% and 12.5 wt% of graphite additive in neat vinyl ester resin increased the conductivity by 88% and 170% respectively.
Reactive Blends of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes and Poly(Vinyl Chloride) with Varying Types of Polyurethane Monomers
The blending technique in this study consists of two sequential stages of mixing and reaction. In the first stage, the PVC is pre-blended with two monomers of the TPU (soft segment and chain extender). In the second stage, the in-situ polymerization of the TPU with the PVC takes place upon the addition of the third monomer of the TPU (diisocyanate). Therefore, the miscibility and reactivity of the TPU monomers with PVC play a role to govern their properties and processing sequence. The effect of chemical structure, isomerism, NCO and OH content of the TPU monomers on the miscibility, thermal and mechanical properties of the reactive blends of PVC/TPU are studied.
Processing - Structure Relationship in Bilayer Polyolefin Blown Films
Bilayer films of polypropylene (PP) and lowdensity polyethylene (LDPE) were formed by blown film coextrusion process. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to study the morphology of the components of the final film. Orientation parameters of the individual components were estimated using birefringence, and x-ray diffraction (WAXD). Preliminary results suggest that the process-time difference between onset of crystallization of components of PP and LDPE is an important parameter which could control the orientation and morphology of the second component during PP/LDPE coextrusion. Online Raman spectroscopy enabled measurement of this parameter during PP/LDPE coextrusion.
Nylon Nanocomposite Films for Food Packaging
A series of nanocomposite films based on nylon 6 and nylon 66 were processed through melt-extrusion and were characterized for barrier, mechanical, and thermal properties. These films were then compared to the neat nylon films. Nanocomposite nylon monolayer films containing montmorillonite-layered silicates (MLS) exhibited a 40% improvement in oxygen barrier over the neat films at 0%RH. Co-extruded films of nanocomposite nylons and polyethylene were processed to improve the barrier properties of the hydrophilic nylon films. The optimum formulation, a 250-micron thick multilayer film based on nanocomposite nylon MXD6, exhibited barrier to oxygen of 0.49 cc/(m2-day) at 0%RH.
Degradability of Commercially Available Biodegradable Packages in Real Composting and Ambient Conditions
The demand for environmentally-friendly biodegradable packaging is a growing area, reflecting consumer and retailer awareness of the issues of waste disposal. Compostability has, so far, been the main focus of applications of biobased packaging materials, which is the natural outcome for a vast amount of packaging materials and waste. The aim of this study was to evaluate the degradability of four commercially available Poly (lactide) packages, a bottle, a tray and two deli containers, in real composting and ambient environment conditions. The correlation of the package’s properties changes with time was examined. The physical property breakdown was monitored by visual inspection; GPC, DSC, and TGA.
Kinetic Studies of Reactive Blending of Thermoplastic Polyurethanewith Poly(Vinyl Chloride) to Apply for Reactive Extrusion
The polymerization kinetics of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) is studied by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Raman spectroscopy, adiabatic temperature rise (ATR) and dynamic rheometry. The objective of this study is to develop the empirical kinetic equation(s) governing the TPU polymerization in a twin screw extruder, as well as including the effects of chemical structure, isomerism, NCO and OH content, catalyst and temperature on the TPU polymerization. The polymerization during the reactive blending process with Poly(vinyl Chloride) (PVC) is presented. The effects of shear rate and pressure on the kinetics model are also considered.
Ultrasonic Plastic Welding: Weld Processing Modes, Their Descriptions, Functions and Applications.
Modern ultrasonic welding systems are capable of processing a wide array of thermoplastic parts and materials by using different welding modes. Determining which mode of operation can be intimidating to the user uninitiated with the applicability and intricacies of each. Welding by time, energy output, peak power output, distance (either reference point or absolute), or even combinations thereof, are all offered on advanced ultrasonic controllers each with its own advantages for a specific welding operation. This paper will explain each mode while suggesting different modes and strategies for the optimization of different types of welding processes performed on various products and materials.
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