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

Experiments in Ultrasonic Micro-Embossing of PMMA
Miranda Marcus, Avraham Benatar, May 2006

MEMS and micro-fluidic technology are two of the fastest growing areas of micro and nanotechnology today. The rapid fabrication of these devices is crucial to their continued growth and use. Ultrasonic embossing was investigated as a possible means of achieving rapid production of micro features on plastic substrates. Several parameters of ultrasonic embossing were studied in terms of their effect on micro-feature replication. The maximum time observed for full replication was less than 20 seconds. This is greatly reduced from the 1 to 10 minute cycle time needed for conventional hot embossing and micro-injection molding processes. The most critical drawback to ultrasonic embossing that was encountered in this study was the occurrence of sticking to the tool during de-embossing. The de-embossing force was found to be as high as 44 N. The employment of an ultrasonic afterburst was investigated as a way to eliminate the de-embossing sticking phenomenon.

Marketing a Plastics Engineering Technology Program
Brian A. Young, May 2006

Following a few years of declining enrollment in the Plastics Engineering Technology (PLET) Program at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, the faculty tried several new marketing methods to sell the program to prospective students, their parents, and the industry for whom they provide skilled employees.At Antec 2005 in Boston, MA the leadership of the Plastic Educators Special Interest Group requested that each school with a Plastics Engineering or Plastics Engineering Technology program submit a paper on how their school is dealing with the problems of reduced enrollment. It is hoped that by sharing ideas for improving enrollment numbers that all schools will benefit.

Creep Prediction for Polymers: Implementation and Its Application on a Talc Filled Polypropylene
Bingfeng Fan, Glen E. Novak, May 2006

A creep predictive model in the literature based on strain energy equivalence theory has been implemented and tested. The model only utilizes stress-strain experimental data at two strain rates, and can predict the creep behavior of polymers for up to many years and its failure at any creep load. In addition, the model can extrapolate a given reference stress-strain curve to any strain rate. The implemented predictive model is applied to a 40% talc filled polypropylene (TFPP). Two stress-strain experiments were performed at strain rates of 0.01/min and 0.0001/min respectively. The creep behavior of the TFPP at creep stresses of 10 MPa, 15 MPa, and 20 MPa is predicted based on the two stress-strain tests. The prediction shows fairly good agreement with experimental data.

Thermal Analysis and Nano-Mechanical Properties of Natural Fiber or Cornstarch-Reinforced Biodegradable Biocomposite
Seung-Hwan Lee, Siqun Wang, May 2006

Thermal analysis and nano-mechanical properties of natural fiber or corn starch-reinforced biodegradable composite were conducted by using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) and nano-indenter, respectively. Thermal flow properties of composites were also investigated by using capillary rheometer. The effect of coupling agent and filler on isothermal and non-isothermal crystallization was investigated by Avrami equation and its modified equations. Analysis of kinetic data according to nucleation theories was also performed. Nano-mechanical properties of the reinforcing materials used in this study were also investigated by continuous nanoindentation technique.

The Effect of Formulation and Process on Thermoformable TPO Gloss
Kim L. Walton, Laura B. Weaver, Douglas P. Waszeciak, May 2006

Automotive part surface finish can be challenging to converters. Interior parts, particularly the instrument panel, require a surface with very low gloss. For thermoforming operations, these requirements can be especially daunting. When using male thermoforming techniques, the converter does not have the benefit of a molding surface to provide a finish. Thus, the inherent property of the sheet stock must provide the necessary finished part gloss.This study investigated the use of blend compositions of ethylene/a-olefin copolymer elastomers having long chain branches with conventional polypropylene and polypropylene containing long chain branches. The results indicated that low sheeting gloss could be obtained by judicious selection of blend components having optimum branching levels.

Compatibilization of ABS/PA6 Blends Using Olefin Based Polymers
Guralp Ozkoc, Goknur Bayram, Erdal Bayramli, May 2006

This study focuses on the morphologies, mechanical and thermal properties of poly(acrylonitrile-co-styrene-graft- butadiene)/polyamide-6 (ABS/PA6) blends compatibilized with methyl acrylate and glycidyl methacrylate grafted polyethylene (E-MA-GMA) and n-butyl acrylate and maleic anhydride grafted, carbon monoxide modified polyethylene (E-nBA-MAH). The ABS/PA6 ratio (100:0, 80:20, 50:50, 20:80 and 0:100) and compatibilizer content (0, 5 and 10 %) are examined as the experimental variables. Compatibilization improves impact strength of the blends. Super-tough blends were obtained at definite compositions (ABS/PA6/E-nBA-MAH: 50/50/5, ABS/PA6/E-MA-GMA: 50/50/5). Dispersed domain size became remarkably smaller for compatibilized blends compared to incompatibilized ones. It was concluded that olefin based copolymers are potential compatibilizers for ABS/PA6 blends.

Laser Transmission Welding of Semi-Crystalline Plastics
E. Haberstroh, R. Luetzeler, May 2006

Laser transmission welding is an innovative process, which is very suitable for the joining of complex injection moulded parts. When the production demands a high quality of the weld line it is absolutely necessary to consider all the influences of the welding process. While welding semi-crystalline thermoplastics the morphology of the transparent joining partner has to be taken into consideration, because the laser beam characteristics and the amount of energy of the welding process depend extensively on the crystallisation characteristics.Many injection moulding process parameters (e.g. the melt and mould temperatures) affect the cooling conditions of the part, and thereby influence the crystalline structure. Therefore the injection moulding process should be integrated into quality assurance systems for laser transmission welding. In this paper the results of intensive experiments for PBT are documented.

Vapor Transport Properties of Sulfonated Block Copolymers
James M. Sloan, E. Napadensky, D. Crawford, May 2006

Polystyrene-polyisobutylene -polystyrene (SIBS) and Polystyrene-polyethylene-butylene -polystyrene (SEBS) block copolymers are materials that are known to have excellent barrier properties to hazardous vapors and liquids. However, when these block copolymers are sulfonated, water and small polar molecules are allowed to be transported through the polymer film. In some instances, this could be beneficial and allow the film to be used as a separation membrane.In this paper, the vapor transport properties of these materials are presented and discussed herein, as they relate to the polymer chemistry and chemical modification of the tri-block copolymer.Results suggest that water permeation is not affected by the structure of the mid-block, however the transport of small organic molecules are affected. It was also found that permeation of polar molecules increases with increasing sulfonation levels within the polymer. The elastomeric character of the tri-block copolymer, coupled with its selectively–permeable characteristics, gives rise to a polymeric membrane with potential for use as breathable membranes.

Opportunities and Challenges for the Plastics Industry in Mexico
Ranganath Shastri, Miguel Ángel Vega, Roque Mirabal Garcia, Rafael Parada, Veronika Pesinova, May 2006

The Plastics industry in Mexico is a very vibrant one with total consumption of plastics in 2004 exceeding 4.5 million tons – ranking it 12th in the world. With abundance of hydrocarbon feed-stocks, reasonable wages and proximity to huge market to the North and the South, plastics sector is very attractive and essential to the socio-economic development of Mexico. However, the unique industry infrastructure and other factors have contributed to importation accounting for over 50% of domestic consumption of plastics. This paper will discuss the current situation with respect to domestic production and consumption of plastics, design and fabrication of molds & dies as well as processing machinery, identifying many opportunities as well as critical challenges for the plastics industry in Mexico.

Impact Modified Polyamide-Organoclay Nanocomposites
Isil Isik, Ulku Yilmazer, Goknur Bayram, May 2006

Ternary nanocomposites composed of polyamide- 6 (PA6) , three types of organoclays and an ethylene/butyl acrylate/maleic anhydride (E-BA-MAH) terpolymer acting as impact modifier for polyamide were melt blended in a twin screw extruder in order to investigate the effects of component concentrations on the final properties. The morphology, melt flow characteristics, thermal behavior and tensile properties of the produced composites were investigated. XRD patterns showed that the interlayer spacing of the organoclays, Cloisite® 25A and Cloisite® 30B increased in PA6-montmorillonite nanocomposites without the impact modifier, as well as in ternary systems. In the presence of elastomer, the MFI of unfilled PA6- impact modifier blend and the MFI of ternary nanocomposites decreased owing to the high viscosity of the elastomer. The crystallinity of the materials decreased in the presence of elastomer and organoclay. Tensile properties of the ternary systems resembled those of binary PA6/elastomer blends. It was concluded that the effect of elastomer was more dominant than the effect of organoclay.

Foaming PS With HFC-134a in Supercritical State
Richard Gendron, Michel F. Champagne, May 2006

Because of the ban of CFC as an ozone-depleting substance and the undergoing phase-out of HCFC, the foam industry is currently looking at inert gases and HFCs as potential alternative blowing agents. However, contrarily to CFCs and HCFCs that were easily dissolved in the thermoplastic resins and could be readily expandable under relatively mild conditions with a minimum of processing difficulty, these alternative fluids unfortunately lack in solubility and are thus difficult to process. For instance extrusion foaming of polystyrene using HFC-134a is problematic above a concentration of 7wt%. Surprisingly, the pressure associated with this concentration threshold is approximately equal to the critical pressure of the HFC-134a, which may suggest that large clusters of HFC originating from its supercritical state would be responsible for the heterogeneities observed in the cell structure. This issue may be not only limited to HFC-134a as many other alternative gases (carbon dioxide, HFCs, hydrocarbons) may reach the supercritical state under the required processing conditions. Since use of mixtures of physical foaming agents in thermoplastic foam extrusion has been an industrial practice for a long time, the easiest way to circumvent this problem is to add a coagent, with the result of shifting away the critical point (pressure and temperature).

Eco-Design of Plastics Products
Ranganath Shastri, Veronika Pesinova, May 2006

An unintended consequence of the growing consumption of plastics is the increase in amount of plastics products discarded daily by consumers worldwide contributing to growing share of plastics in municipal waste streams. With the product life cycle of most products getting shorter each day, product designers have a responsibility to minimize the negative impacts of their designs on the environment. This paper describes best practices for incorporating environmental impact considerations during various stages of plastics product development, and provides specific guidelines to assist designers for eco-design of plastics products.

Abbreviated Terms for Plastics - Implications and Challenges
Ranganath Shastri, Veronika Pesinova, May 2006

Abbreviated terms are routinely employed in the plastics industry in generic marking of molding products to assist in identification of the plastics for separation in recycling besides in trade and technical literatures. Existing ISO, ASTM and other standards provide clear guidelines for abbreviated terms for polymer families. In practice, however, a wide range of inconsistent abbreviated terms are quite common in the industry. This has significant implications for the general consumers as well as those involved with plastics recycling. The challenge is to arrive at uniform globally acceptable single set of abbreviated terms in order to addressing this issue.

CBA-Based Foaming of Thermoplastics Under Ambient Pressure
Remon Pop-Iliev, Ning Dong, Donglai Xu, Chul B. Park, May 2006

Understanding the fundamental mechanisms that govern the foaming process is the most essential universal prerequisite for developing effective processing strategies for fabricating high quality foamed plastic products using any type of foaming technology. Despite chemically blown foaming of thermoplastics under atmospheric pressure has been successfully implemented in rotational foam molding over the last decade, the related open literature does not provide substantial research addressing the fundamentals of this unique foaming mechanism. The present study focuses on clarifying the fundamental foaming mechanisms that govern the successful manufacture of thermoplastic foams using a chemical blowing agent (CBA) under low pressure (atmospheric) conditions. The presented research is mainly based on observing a series of visualization experiments conducted using a custom made visualization system including an optical microscope and a computerized CCD camera imaging system, which was utilized for investigating the behavior of foamable polyethylene (PE) samples prepared by using the compression molding method.

Influence of Carbon Nanofiber Microstructure on Electrical Proprties of LLDPE-Based Nanocomposites
Sungho Lee, Myung-Soo Kim, Amod A. Ogale, May 2006

Carbon nanofiber-reinforced linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) composites were obtained from three different types of nanofibers (MJ, PR-24-PS, and PR-19-PS). A significant drop of volume resistivity was observed at 15 wt% MJ nanofiber content whereas volume resistivity started to decrease only at 25wt% of PR-24-PS or PR-19-PS nanofiber content. Further, micrographs of pure CNFs revealed that MJ nanofibers are twisted or even coiled whereas PR-24-PS and PR-19- PS are fairly straight. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that CNFs were well dispersed in composites. We believe that the twisted or coiled structure of MJ fibers led to a better inter-fiber connectivity and reduced electrical percolation threshold.

Zhongbao Chen, A. Jeffrey Giacomin, Lih-Sheng Turng, May 2006

Flash, a common injection molding defect, arises when melt flows from the cavity into thin gaps between parting surfaces. Besides rules of thumb for eliminating flash, there are few fundamental papers on flash analysis. Understanding flash as a transport phenomenon provides a systematic basis for solving flash problems. The governing equations for the gap flow are established and solved for an isothermal power law fluid, under constant pressure along the parting line where flash begins. Two shapes are investigated, rectangular and ring slits that respectively correspond to modeling flash from straight and curved parting lines. Our equation for flash length, the distance to which the melt penetrates the gap developed between the parting surfaces, is our main result. Further, adimensionalizing not only unifies the results for straight and curved parting lines, but also provides insight into how rheology, pressure and geometry govern flash. Our approach avoids tedious numerical simulation and mold structural analysis. The theory is validated by our polycarbonate flash experiments.

The Promise and Practice of Valve Gate Sequencing
Art Schubert, May 2006

Injection molders commonly use valve gates to reduce cycle times, control gate vestiges and limit gate discharge. The following are real-world examples of sequencing valve gates for balance, pressure control (particularly in family molds), reduction of knit lines, and minimization of clamp tonnage.In-cavity pressure sensing and DECOUPLED MOLDINGSM techniques are becoming more common. When combined with valve gate control these tools help create more robust processes or sometimes processes that would otherwise be impossible. This in turn has reduced scrap, material used and cycle time on a variety of tools.To put these techniques into practice molders need to pay attention to the details required for success.

The Performance of PVDF in Fuel Handling Applications
M.P. McCourt, G.M. Mc Nally, B. Zhan, W.R. Murphy, May 2006

PVDF was immersed in automotive fuel constituents at various temperatures ranging from 4°C to 60°C. The mass uptake, swelling, changes in the mechanical properties as well as glass transition temperature and storage modulus were also recorded during the immersion period. Large differences in permeation rates and mechanical properties were observed in certain solvents, particularly at temperatures above 40°C. The changes to the glass transition and the storage modulus were less pronounced, with only minor decreases to the Tg and the storage modulus being observed.

Hierarchical Description of SEBS Block Copolymer Thermoplastic Elastomers
Alan J. Lesser, Kishore Indukuri, Mohit Mamodia, May 2006

In this study we investigate the energetics and kinematics of deformation of SEBS block copolymers. The kinematics of deformation is investigated using simultaneous wide angle and small angle X-Ray diffraction on deformed samples. Results show that systematic deformation mechanisms occur in this class of thermoplastic elastomers. Moreover, these mechanisms are related to specific mechanical responses at specific levels of deformation. For the class of thermoplastic elastomers studied herein, the mechanisms include cooperative microbuckling and fragmentation of cylindrical styrenic microdomains, alignment of the fragments in the applied loading direction, followed by strain induced crystallization in selected systems.

Effect of Uniaxial Drawing of Soy Protein Isolate Film on Mechanical Properties
Takashi Kurose, Kevin Urman, Joshua U. Otaigbe, Robert Y. Lochhead, Shelby F. Thames, May 2006

The effect of uniaxial drawing of soy protein isolate film on mechanical properties was investigated to accelerate efforts to develop SPI films with improved properties. The films containing 0 to 30wt% glycerol were drawn uniaxially up to a draw ratio of 2.5. The mechanical properties of the soy protein isolate film were found to be significantly improved after uniaxial drawing. The generation of crystal phase with drawing was not observed fromWAXD and DSC measurements. Therefore, the improvement in mechanical properties is ascribed to molecular orientation induced by drawing of the film.

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