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

Infrared Melt Temperature Measurement: Effect of Filler Content on Penetration Depth
A.L. Kelly, E.C. Brown, P.D. Coates, May 2004

The effect of filler content on penetration depth of infrared temperature sensors is described, both in extrusion and in a specially designed imposed temperature gradient cell. White magnesium hydroxide and carbon black fillers were compounded with polyethylene in various levels and measurements made during extrusion and in the static cell. Filler content had significant effect on measured temperature in extrusion, causing changes in absorption coefficient of the compound. Effective penetration depths were quantified using the static gradient cell and emission spectra obtained from in-process infrared spectroscopy.

Real-Time Monitoring of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Extrusion Using Process Spectroscopy
S.E. Barnes, M.G. Sibley, E.C. Brown, H.G.M. Edwards, I.J. Scowen, P.D. Coates, May 2004

Analysis of polymer production processes using spectroscopic and ultrasonic techniques is becoming more prevalent. Such at-process methods allow realtime chemical and physical information on melt characteristics to be obtained for process monitoring and control.This work will demonstrate real-time monitoring during extrusion of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) random copolymers with varying vinyl acetate (VA) content 1-40 % wt. In-line transmission near infrared and Raman spectroscopy has been used simultaneously with ultrasonic transit time measurements. The efficiency of the respective methods for determination of VA content is investigated and multivariate analysis of the spectroscopic data acquired is presented.

In-Line Color Monitoring during Polyethylene Extrusion: Reflectance Spectra and Images
Forouzandeh Farahani, Kyle Jeong, Saed Sayad, Stephen T. Balke, Felix Calidonio, Alex Rom-Roginski, May 2004

Two methods of monitoring the color of pigmented polyethylene during extrusion are being investigated. The first method utilizes a fiber-optic assisted charge-coupled-device (CCD) spectrometer to measure the color of the polymer melt. Highly precise L*a*b* values can be calculated from the reflectance spectra. The second method employs a CCD camera and RGB values are obtained for each pixel in the image of the extrudate. These RGB values track color changes but are sensitive to lighting.

Application of Ultrasound and Neural Networks in the Determination of Filler Concentration and Dispersion during Polymer Extrusion Processes
Zhigang Sun, Catalina V. Anghel, Jacques Tatibouët, May 2004

Mineral filler concentration and dispersion are important pieces of information for the production of mineral-charged polymers. In order to achieve timely control of product quality, a technique capable of providing real-time information on filler concentration and dispersion is highly desirable. In this work, ultrasound, temperature, and pressure sensors as well as an amperometer of the extruder motor drive were used to monitor the extrusion of mineralfilled polymers under various experimental conditions in terms of filler type, filler concentration, feeding rate, screw rotation speed, and barrel temperature. Then, neural network relationships were established between the filler concentration, filler dispersion index, and some of the process variables and the measurement data provided by the sensors. By using these networks and ultrasonic measurement data as input of the networks, we were able to achieve a better than 1 wt% average accuracy on the estimation of filler concentration and a better than 0.06 accuracy on the estimation of filler dispersion index. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of using ultrasound and neural networks for in-line monitoring of filler concentration and dispersion during extrusion processes of mineral-charged polymers.

Measuring Resin Temperature during Extrusion Using a Fluorescence Technique
A.J. Bur, S.C. Roth, D.W. Baugh, K.A. Koppi, M.A. Spalding, J. Gunderson, W.C. Buzanowski, May 2004

We have used a temperature sensitive fluorescent dye, doped into polycarbonate, to monitor the true resin temperature during extrusion processing. For this measurement, a fluorescent dye, perylene, was doped into the polycarbonate at very low concentration. We apply this measurement concept to extrusion processing by using an optical sensor that accesses the machine at standard instrumentation ports. The sensor has a confocal optics design that permits the measurement of temperature profiles. With the sensor looking over the screw of a single extruder, temperature profiles from the barrel wall to the core of the screw were obtained as a function of screw speed, screw design and melt flow index.

Effects of Processing Parameters & Wall Thickness on Core Geometry & Core Penetration for Co-Injected Parts
Stephen Johnston, Shawn Squires, May 2004

Co-injection is a specialized injection molding process in which two or more materials are sequentially or simultaneously injected into a mold. The resulting plastic part will consist of a skin of the first material covering a core made of the second material. This can allow for an ergonomic surface finish without jeopardizing mechanical strength. It also can help reduce material costs by allowing lower quality material to be incorporated into the core. The focus of this research was to determine the effect of processing parameters and wall thickness on the core geometry and penetration depth. With a better understanding of the co-injection process, it can be implemented for more parts and a potential cost savings can be realized.

Powder Metal Injection Molding - The Effect of Runner Design on Filling Imbalances at Different Fill Speeds
Andrew Schenck, Brian Martonik, May 2004

Imbalances occur in powder injection molding of multi cavity molds, which are sometimes opposite to the shear induced imbalances of conventional plastic materials. In a previous study it was found that melt rotation technology not only reduced imbalances, but also helped reduce differences between the mechanical properties of parts molded in multi-cavity molds. This paper presents the results of a study that expands on a previous work to include effects of fill rate, additional variations in runner geometries, and designs of melt rotation technologies for eliminating the variations.

Examination of Method for Diagnosing Mold Filling Imbalances in New Multi-Cavity Molds
Jaime A. Cypher, Amanda M. Neely, May 2004

During the startup and operation of new multicavity molds, it is expected that cavity-to-cavity filling variations will be found. This will occur despite the use of geometrically balanced runners. With cold runners, this imbalance is dominated by either steel variations in the mold, or shear induced variations developed in the runner. In order to correct the imbalances, it is important to be able to separate these two causes and to quantify their contribution. A method, here referred to as “The Five-Step Process” was developed for this purpose. This paper presents a study to determine how robust The Five Step-Process is in diagnosing steel variations in a mold.

The Effect of Runner Shape on Mold Filling and Product Variation
Amanda Neely, Mark Hennebicque, May 2004

In the plastics industry today it is generally accepted that full round runners provide the most efficient flow channel. However, when full round runners are implemented it is common for misalignment of the two halves of the runner to occur. This paper presents the effect that this misalignment has on mold filling and the resultant product. It is also common, in many instances and for many reasons, for other cross-sectional designs to be used. This paper also examines how subtle variations in runner design dramatically affects filling pressure, resulting in variations in molded parts. This study finds that there is a direct predictable relationship between the pressure drop through a runner and the ratio of the perimeter of the runner geometry to the cross sectional area of the runner.

Relationship of Predicted Shear Stress to Molded Plastic Parts
Marty W. Timm, Michael J. Couts, May 2004

Shear stresses developed during mold filling induce polymer orientation. This stress-induced orientation can be a significant contributor to a part’s residual stress, the development of anisotropic shrinkages and its tendency to warp. This paper presents a study that evaluates the relationship between the shear stress predicted from mold filling analysis software to its effects on a variety of different plastic materials. The study evaluates the impact of part wall thickness, melt temperature and fill rate. The study includes a variety of plastic materials, material fillers and reinforcements. Through a better understanding of the impact of predicted shear stress on different materials, a molder, or mold-filling analyst, will be able to minimize or avoid shear stress induced molding problems.

The Study of Process Stabilization and Consistency Using Pulse Cooling Compared to Cooling with a Thermolator
Trina R. Carl, Douglas French, Carl Caldwell, Eric D. Bowersox, May 2004

Injection molding requires a cooling phase within the cycle to cure the molten plastic that was just injected into a steel mold. The traditional method of cooling uses a mold cooling system to regulate the cooling. Pulse cooling, another method of cooling, is being studied to see how it compares in process stabilization and consistency to the traditional, constant flow, method of cooling.This study consists of an experiment using a constant flow cooling system to regulate cooling vs. using a pulse cooling system to regulate cooling. The data from the experiment is compared and the stabilization and consistency of the process using a pulse cooling system is compared to the standard cooling with constant flow.

Optimization of Extrusion Blow Molding Ovalized Tooling
James E.M. Lightfoot, Vincent A. Gallo, May 2004

Producing blow-molded bottles such as oval shaped cosmetics bottles requires the use of ovalized tooling. Currently the design of these dies is based the past experience. Simulation software can be used to eliminate extensive rework of the die, by allowing for the tooling design to be optimized without any steel being cut. The end result of this is a more uniform wall thickness distribution in the final product. 3D simulation software will be used to demonstrate its ability to construct and optimize the ovalizing of die and/or mandrel that could produce a parison for blowing oval shaped bottles. The results of this simulation can only be used with 3D simulation software.

Parison Verification of Parison Programming for Extrusion Blow-Molding Simulation Software
Benjamin Atkins, Nathan Lyons, May 2004

Using simulation software, a computer can help to gain a basic parison profile and in turn be an effective way to validate a design. When molding parts, by using parison programming, the operator has the ability to maintain a uniform wall thickness. The majority of users who do simulations assume a constant wall thickness and a uniform cylindrical shape for the parison. However, in real world applications this is not true, and two major occurrences, die swell and sag, are overlooked. The inability for the blow molding simulation software to recognize these factors, can lead to greater cost in terms of lost time.In an attempt to verify the accuracy of the software simulation programs, a 2D axisymmetric model of the parison was created and then compared actual parisons created on a blow-molding machine using parison programming. After completing this study, it is our hope that this will help the people who run the software to perform better simulations.

Evaluation of Geometric Effects for Extrusion Blow Mold Pinch-Off Design
Michael Butala, Ryan Reinhardt, May 2004

This study looks at secondary design parameters that affect the strength of extrusion blow molded parts at the pinch-off. The effectiveness of secondary parameters on weld strength creates a greater understanding of pinch-off design. Pinch-off design is critical in extrusion blow molding since it welds the parison together in the mold. Weld strength is important because the part could fail in application if the weld strength is poor.This is a continuation of a prior experiment, which concluded flash pocket dimensions were the primary contributor to weld strength. This study focused on the secondary effects while keeping the flash pocket constant. The bottles for this experiment were made out of HDPE. A two-level Design of Experiment (DOE) was implemented to examine the effect of the parameters on weld line strength.

HDPE Blow-Molded Bottle Pinch-Off Weld Strength of High Density Polyethylene at Various Molecular Weights
Mark K. Gutman, Justin M. Page, May 2004

This study focused on the weld strength of different materials in the pinch-off area of an extrusion blow-molded bottle. Various materials of different densities were run through an extrusion blow-molding machine. This study determined how weld strength at the pinch off was affected by the density of the material being processed. The pinch off is the portion of the mold that welds the ends, and at times the interior portions, of the parison as well as cut the excess flash to aid in removal. Having a strong weld was extremely crucial to overall bottle quality and was a direct result of pinch off design. The reason the pinch off has an effect on quality is due to the weld probably being the weakest part of the bottle and bottle strength is only as strong as its weakest point. Strength was a key issue in determining overall quality and the research performed allows for a direct correlation between strength and material grade.

Analysis of Weld Line Strength and Thickness for Extrusion Blowmolded HDPE Bottles
Sean Dubois, Colleen Janeiro, May 2004

One objective of any blow molder is to create the strongest weld possible at the pinch-off region. In order to do this, a clear understanding of how the material’s viscosity interacts with processing variables to produce a weld line of certain thickness and strength is required. By varying mold closing time, mold temperature and relief angle on two melt viscosity variations of high density polyethylene (HDPE) this paper will show a clear relationship between these variables. Thus, allowing for the blow molder to produce the strongest and most optimum weld line for HDPE blow molded bottles. In doing so, this article will show that a slow mold closing time coupled with a high mold temperature will produce the strongest and thickest weld lines for both vicosity variations of HDPE.

Carboxylation of EVOH by Reactive Extrusion and its Blends with Polyamide 6,6
John F. Rushing, May 2004

The carboxylation of poly(ethylene-co-vinyl alcohol) (EVOH) was carried out utilizing varying amounts of succinic anhydride in a reactive extrusion process. The functionalized EVOH was then melt blended with polyamide 6,6 to investigate the effect of carboxylation on blend miscibility and/or phase behavior. All functionalization reactions and melt blending procedures were carried out on a co-rotating twin-screw extruder. The effectiveness of the functionalization reaction was determined through infrared spectroscopy (IR) and titration while the thermal and mechanical properties of the blends were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and tensile testing. IR spectroscopy showed the presence of a carbonyl peak after functionalization, indicating the carboxylation reaction was successful. These findings were reinforced by titration data. While the blends were all immiscible, the mechanical properties of the blends all increased with the carboxylation of EVOH.

A Continuation of the Investigation of the Silane Crosslinking of Polyethylene Polymer Chains
James Nollinger, Michael Alabran, May 2004

Many hot water applications use crosslinked polyethylenes manufactured using methanol based silanes. Although ethanol based silanes are a higher cost material, the overall process using them would result in a lower cost alternative by removing an entire step of the manufacturing process. This experiment is a continuation of work performed on the silane crosslinking of polyethylene polymer chains. The experiment compares properties and manufacturability of methanol based silanes and ethanol based silanes. The results of this experiment are intended to aid in further research of the subject.

Mechanical Properties of Rotationally Molded Laminates of LLDPE and Foamed LLDPE
Elizabeth A. Webster, Nathan Weaver, May 2004

Part weight of plastic articles is reduced by use of foamed material or laminates that include a foamed layer. Traditionally rotationally molded parts may be filled with foam in a post-molding operation. The foam may, or may not, be the same material as the outer skin. It may, or may not, enhance properties. This paper describes the use of a two-step rotational molding process in which a LLDPE outer skin is molded followed by molding LLDPE with a blowing agent by opening a drop box containing the compound. Various ratios of skin-tofoam thickness were produced. ARM impact, tensile and flexural testing compare various ratios of laminate thickness. Results are compared to predictions from a laminate model.

Influence of Organo-Clay Type on the Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Poly(L-Lactide)/Clay Nanocomposites
Jeremy Swanson, May 2004

Poly (l-lactide) (PLLA) has received considerable attention recently because it is environmentally friendly, derived from agricultural sources, and biodegradable. However, the mechanical properties of PLLA are typically low compared to other petroleum-based plastics. Recently, properties such as modulus and heat deflection temperature have been improved by creating polymer/clay nanocomposites. This study focuses on the effect of different organic modifiers for montmorrillonite clay on the thermal and mechanical properties of PLLA. Upon the addition of a small amount (1-10 wt %) of these modified clays, the storage modulus and Tg increases for all types of clays. The greatest increase in properties is found using quaternary ammonium ion having a pendant benzyl group.

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