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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Prepared by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council, this study expands upon the 2014 substitution analysis that used life cycle assessment methodology to assess the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of six general categories of plastic packaging produced and sold in North America relative to alternative packaging. The updated analysis includes other life cycle impacts - including but not limited to solid waste generation and consumptive water use, as well as updated energy and GHG results. This presentation will answer the question: if plastic packaging were replaced with alternative types of packaging, how would life cycle impacts, such as energy consumption, water use, and waste generation, be affected?
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) is a non-toxic, conformable, and low-cost alternative to traditional piezoelectric ceramic in sensors and actuators. While fabrication methods such as mechanical stretching are commonly used, a combination of non-isothermal processing and supercritical carbon dioxide (ScCO2) processing has been used to successfully promote the electroactive phase (i.e., α, β, and γ phases) of PVDF. In this paper, this processing method was further analyzed by decoupling the manufacturing process into individual steps to elucidate the processing-to-structure properties and mechanisms that affect the crystallization behaviors of the electroactive phases. Differential scanning calorimetry, scanning electronic microscopy, and infrared spectroscopy were utilized to study the crystallization of the polymorph phases. Experimental results further supported our findings on the formation of γ crystal phase and its inverse relationship to β crystal phase. The results were revealed to be comparable to the mechanical stretching method with a maximum electroactive crystal phase of 72.2%.
Large-scale biomimetic organic/inorganic hybrid nanocoatings with a nacre-like microstructure were prepared via a facile co-assembly process. Different from conventional polymer nanocomposites, such nanocoatings contain a high concentration of nanosheets, which can be well aligned along the substrate surface. Moreover, the nanosheets and polymer matrix can be chemically co-crosslinked. As a result, the nanocoatings exhibit exceptional mechanical properties (high stiffness and strength), barrier properties (to both oxygen and water vapor), and flame retardancy, but meanwhile, they are highly transparent (maintaining more than 85% of their original transmittance to visible light). The nanocoatings can be applied to various substrates and regular or irregular surfaces (e.g., films as well as foams). Because of their excellent performance and high versatility, such nanocoatings are expected to find widespread application.
Liquid crystal polymers (LCP’s) make up a class of performance materials that derive favorable mechanical, chemical, and electrical characteristics from their long-range molecular ordering. This unique microstructure gives rise to anisotropic bulk behavior that can be problematic for industrial applications, and thus the ability to model this directionality is essential to the design of manufacturing processes for isotropic material production. Previous efforts to model LCP orientation have typically been restricted to structured grids and simple geometries that demonstrate the underlying theory, but fall short of simulating realistic LCP manufacturing methods. In this investigation, a methodology is proposed to simulate the director field in practical LCP process geometries for the prediction of the bulk material orientation state. The polymer flow is first simulated using a commercial CFD software and the rheological results are input into post-processing calculations of the polymer directionality. It is shown that the model predicts the expected change in anisotropy as the mold cavity thickness is changed for an LCP injection molding process.
The influence of annealing on the viscoelastic behavior of poly(ether-ether-ketone) (PEEK) was investigated. The effect of annealing at different temperatures on the crystallinity of PEEK was characterized using differential scanning calorimetry. This effect on the viscoelastic behavior of PEEK was further studied using dynamic mechanical analysis. The master curves were generated for creep and stress relaxation measurements at temperatures below Tg and subsequently a physics-based model was employed to predict the long-term viscoelastic behavior of PEEK within this temperature window of interest. The results indicated that annealing increased the degree of crystallinity and increased the activation energy of β-relaxation (Eβ), which correlates to the molecular motions below Tg and explains why the creep and stress relaxation slowed down after annealing. The modeling results also suggested a higher degree of restriction on the molecular mobility, which is consistent with Eβ results obtained from DMA.
In this study, vacuum assisted bubble free casting was used to prepare and test Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with varying crosslinking densities. Tensile tests and Shore D hardness tests were performed to determine tensile strength and hardness of PDMS. PDMS with concentrations of 2.5:1, 5:1, 7.5:1, and 10:1 wt/wt silicone resin to curing agent were fabricated for uniaxial tensile testing and hardness testing. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic analysis revealed that there is a strong correlation between tensile strength and hardness with respect to absorbance spectra of carbon Silicone-Oxygen-Silicone (Si-O-Si) bonds.
Addition of functional components into polymers is the important route for preparing polymer functional composites. For economic cost increase and mechanical properties decrease in the presence of functional fillers, we are all exploring the good functional performance at the lowest content of fillers. Here tailoring the structure morphology of the composites will play the important role. Laminating is one of preferred structures. In general, the polymer composites with multilayer structure have good balance of toughness, stiffness and strength. In this paper, the morphology development of polymer in the confined space of micro- and nano-layers and layer interfacial contribution to properties enhancement will be reported. We can develop a series high damping and sound-proofing polymer composites through multi-layer structure : high damping materials, high noise shielding, high electromagnetic waves shielding materials, high flame retardant materials and high Conductive materials.
Commercial applications of polymers have always included circumstances of impact, but it has been consistently difficult to measure the high rate response of thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, and foams. Designers require this information to properly prototype and ensure the impact resistance of products, yet the suite of characterization techniques remains incomplete. This paper presents various methodologies to evaluate the high strain rate (impact) properties of polymeric materials. The discussion examines the applicable range of strain rates by material and methodology, and discusses which techniques provide information within constraints of accuracy, repeatability, and ease of testing.
The cell structure of a mattress foam influences a number of foam physical properties which are important to the thermal comfort of a sleeping person. An interconnected model was developed to quantify these relationships with the following model components: 1) semi-empirical sub-models to relate foam structure to foam properties, 2) finite element analysis to simulate transport of heat and moisture within a foam mattress, and 3) lumped-parameter model to quantify human thermal response to external environment. This paper presents the results of numerical simulations using the combined model, in which important structural parameters are traced to their ultimate effects on thermal comfort.
Microcapillary film (MCF) membranes offer a promising new media configuration for water purification devices. A 50 mm wide microcapillary film die was designed and constructed, allowing a fluid to be injected at 42 separate locations within a molten polymeric film as it exited the die. MCF membranes were prepared using this die by profile extrusion of a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) based formulation, which was rendered microporous via Thermally Induced Phase Separation (TIPS) and dissolution of a dispersed nano-calcium carbonate porogen. Air was used as the bore fluid to form the microcapillaries. Analysis of the membranes prepared by this technique using scanning electron microscopy showed surface porosity and an interconnected, porous interior morphology that was uniform from the outside surface to the capillaries on the interior. These MCF membranes can be formed into spiral wound modules, useful for ultrafiltration applications or, when coated with an ion-rejecting top layer, for desalination of aqueous feed streams.
High temperature thermoplastic polymers are continuously evaluated as options in a multitude of applications, including aerospace, medical, oil and gas exploration, and other high demanding applications. The fundamental understanding of their structure and its effect on their expected performance in critical environments is of high importance for the development of new technologies and complex processing techniques. Commercial efforts have recently focused on the development of high performance materials for specialized and highly demanding applications. In this regard, due to their superior properties, poly(aryl ketones) or PAEKs have gained significant attention. Their exceptional behavior at high temperatures, along with their superior chemical resistance, mechanical properties, excellent abrasion resistance, and natural flame retardancy make them suitable for a multitude of growing applications and markets. Among the PAEK family, poly(etherketoneketone) (PEKK) offers a unique chemical structure, favoring precise manipulation of its polymer microstructure and key properties. PEKK resins offer very high melting and glass transition temperatures, a wide range of crystallization rates and degrees of crystallinity, superior mechanical properties, chemical resistance and low flammability. Because of their extremely high thermal properties and polymorphic crystalline nature, PEKK polymers offer also clear advantages in powder applications over traditional high-performance thermoplastics and other aromatic polyketones [1-3].This study provides a detailed evaluation of the performance of PEKK polymers in rotomolding applications. The results presented here offer a general overview of the changes in physical properties and macroscopic morphology observed in PEKK parts when processed at elevated temperatures. This study also describes the development of an optimized rotomolding process to produce parts with improved performance capable of satisfying highly demanding requirements for specialized applications such as aerospace, medical, and oil and gas exploration among others.
The Fluted (aka Maddock) or Spiral Fluted (aka Egan) mixers are commonly used on single screw extruder screws to help disperse particles and homogenize polymer melts. However, these devices are generally added with some “standard” dimensions or designs and are often not optimized for the particular polymer or process conditions being used. A poorly designed mixer can adversely affect the performance of the extruder and create more problems that it is supposed to solve. There are also some design variations that make manufacturing easier but also adversely affect the performance. This presentation will propose some optimization criteria that should be applied to the design of a fluted mixer that can help avoid some problems, which will also be presented.
In the field of polymer processing, the extrusion is one of the most common processing methods. Not only in the processing of recycled materials, also when using virgin polymers there can be contaminations during the storage or processing of the material. This may adversely affect the melt quality and by this also the quality of the final extrusion product. Examples for possible contaminations are metal particles which are caused by wear and tear of the extruder, or degradation products of the processed material itself.As a result of increasing demands on the quality of extrusion products, especially in the field of fiber and film extrusion, filtration of polymer melts is widely used and state of the art today. To remove unwanted debris out of the melt, different metal filter media is used. Some examples for typical filter media are different kinds of wire mesh, filters out of nonwoven metal fibers or sintered metal powder discs. Using this filter media, it is possible to remove foreign particles like solid particles, as well as soft components, the so called “gels” from the melt. This ensures a high quality extrusion result.In order to compare the filtering effect of different filter media and to assess the contamination and selective filtration it is necessary to develop a possibility for reproducibly rapid contamination of filter materials. In this work this should be elaborated as part of the PET processing. For this, a real filter contamination is analyzed. After this a definition of an adequate substitute dirt is effected. The focus is both on solid particles, as well as on gel contamination. With this it is possible to generate realistic and reproducible filter soiling so that pressure rise curves can be generated in order to compare the behavior of different filter media in the extrusion process.
This paper introduces 5 different types of extrusion problems in production scale ranging from formulation issues to screw design problem. Each extrusion problem was analyzed and diagnosed by using a highly instrumented pilot-scale extruder, equipped with 14 pressure/temperature transducers along the axis of an extruder barrel. The case studies will demonstrate how pilot-scale extrusion results can be correlated with the production-scale extrusion problem, and how the measured pressure and temperature data can be used to optimize and troubleshoot production-scale extrusion problems.
A central challenge in the extrusion process is the interaction of the melt with the metallic die wall. These interactions, such as friction and adhesion, lead to a limitation of mass throughput due to high pressure drop and long material and color changeover times. Since raw material costs are price-determining with a percentage of up to 80 %, it is imperative to reduce these interactions. Extrusion dies in particular offer a very large contact area for these interactions, as the melt is formed out there with usually a large surface area. A possible solution to reduce these interactions is the encapsulation of the melt with a low viscous thermoplastic melt before entering the extrusion die. Hereby, the parabolic flow profile with wall adhesion is converted into a block-like flow profile. The pressure drop and material and color changeover times can be reduced, in this way.In this paper, the influence of the melt encapsulation with two low viscous LDPE resins on the flat film extrusion process with focus on the reduction of pressure drop and rearrangement effects is investigated. Therefor the low viscous encapsulation material, the processing temperature and the layer thickness of the low viscous encapsulation material are varied. For example, the pressure drop of the reference process at 200 °C can be significantly reduced from 47 bar to 12 bar for LDPE65 at a melt pump speed of 0.2 rpm. However, due to rheological effects a rearrangement of the low viscous material appears. This means the low viscous material accumulates in the edge area of the rectangular flow channel. As a result, the usable film width is reduced.
When modeling the melt-conveying zone of single-screw extruders, generally the flat-plate model is applied. Using a cylindrical reference frame, we investigated the effect of channel curvature on flow rate and viscous dissipation, considering a two-dimensional, fully developed, isothermal flow of a power-law fluid. Re-writing the flow equations and applying the theory of similarity revealed the existence of four independent influencing parameters: Π_(p,z), n, t/D_b , and h/D_b . Based on these, we carried out a comprehensive parametric study investigating flow rate and viscous dissipation. Our results show that the channel-height-to-diameter ratio has a significant influence on both flow rate and viscous dissipation.
Being able to include the shear-thinning behavior of polymer melts in the theoretical analysis of melt-conveying and pressurization generally involves the application of numerical techniques. We have recently proposed a fast and accurate analytical approximation method for predicting the pumping characteristics of power-law fluids in three-dimensional metering channels. Removing the need for time-consuming simulations, this novel theory provides an algebraic throughput-pressure gradient relationship that can be implemented easily in real screw designs. By considering the three-dimensional geometry of the screw channel and the non-Newtonian flow behavior of the polymer melt, our model is a close representation of the actual physical process. Here, we revisit the design of the heuristic model, present further results, and validate the method against additional numerical solutions.
Post-die analysis in the polyXtrue software is enhanced to include the effect of cooling shrinkage on extrudate distortion. Extrudate distortion for two different profile dies is predicted. The effect of non-uniform exit velocity as well as that of cooling shrinkage on extrudate distortion is included in the analysis. The extrudate distortion predicted including the shrinkage analysis is compared with the distortion predictions based only upon non-uniform exit velocity. Extrudate distortion due to non-uniform exit velocity is further increased when cooling shrinkage is included in the analysis.
This capstone project consists of making a gravimetric feeder from a volumetric feeder with a speed-controlled screw. A gravimetric feeder starve-feeds material into an extruder at a constant weight per hour. A lot of extrusion companies use gravimetric feeders because it saves them a lot of money on scrap from inconsistent lines of filament. It also uses Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controlling to monitor the weight loss and counteracts any feeding inefficiencies. Without using PID and instead using a set speed control, the screw might not feed a constant amount of material. The PID will be implemented into the system using C++ language in the Arduino software. The project will be completed using a starve-feeding hopper, a 165-lb. capacity bench scale, an Arduino Uno kit, a motor shield, and an RS-232 converter.
In this work, effect of the second to first normal stress difference ratio at the die exit, uniaxial extensional strain hardening, planar-to-uniaxial extensional viscosity ratio and Deborah number has been investigated via viscoelastic isothermal modeling utilizing 1D membrane model and a single-mode modified Leonov model as the constitutive equation. Numerical solutions of the utilized model were successfully approximated by a dimensionless analytical equation relating the normalized maximum attainable neck-in with all above mentioned variables. Suggested equation was tested by using literature experimental data. It was found that approximate model predictions are in a very good agreement with the corresponding experimental data for low as well as very high Deborah numbers. It is believed that the obtained knowledge together with the suggested simple analytical model can be used for optimization of the extrusion die design, molecular architecture of polymer melts and processing conditions to suppress neck-in phenomenon in production of very thin polymeric flat films.
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