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

Applications of Thermal Analysis in Polymer & Composites Characterization
Wei Xie, September 2003

Thermal Analysis is the generic name for a series of measurement techniques traditionally used to determine changes in material properties with temperature. No other techniques have proved more useful than thermal analysis in the material characterization. The observation of the behavior of materials and the quantitative measurement of the change on heating deliver a great deal of useful information on the nature of the material. As a result thermal analysis has been used in many areas of basic and applied research production and quality control in the material science especially polymer and polymer composites. This paper describes the application of thermal analysis techniques in the design optimization technical support and QA/QC of polymer and polymer composites. The results illustrate the value of termal analysis for characterizating polymeric materials.

Carbon Fiber: The Automotive Material of the Twenty-First Century Starts Fulfilling the Promise
Dale Brosius, September 2003

For more than forty years since its introduction carbon fiber composites have remained an elusive material in the automotive industry. Proven in jet fighters and high-end race cars for over 20 years there is little doubt about its ability to build lighter more durable vehicles. Offering a weight savings of 75 percent over steel carbon fiber gives sports cars a real advantage in acceleration and top speed and enables all automobiles to achieve improved fuel economy. Commercialization continues to be hindered by high material and processing costs and slow production rates. In spite of these obstacles more than 25 series production vehicles will feature carbon fiber composites in 2004 fueled by advances in manufacturing technology new material forms and steadily declining material costs. This paper presents the current state of carbon fiber use in automobiles in Europe North America and Japan ranging from the exotic “supercars” to niche producers and the major automobile manufacturers. Carbon fiber applications include body panels structure and functional components. Advances in processing techniques will be reviewed with a focus on what is being done today and what still needs to occur to economically move beyond volumes of a few thousand parts per year and into more mainstream vehicles.

Carbon/Epoxy Composites for the Lamborghini Murcielago
Attilio Masini, Paolo Feraboli, September 2003

Development of the carbon/epoxy body panels and structural components of the Lamborghini Murcièlago is discussed while use of aerospace grade technology and materials is justified for this particular application. Laminate design and stacking sequence is reviewed and the use of woven fabrics over directional tape is motivated. Engineering solutions for tooling operations in order to achieve class A surface certification are analyzed. Design for environmental aging as well as accelerated degradation tests are described. Hybrid adhesive bonding as sole method of joining the composite body components to the tubular steel chassis is reviewed.

Development of the Fiber Reinforced Thermoset DaimlerChrysler 4.7L V-8 Engine Valve Cover
Steve Crawford, Mark Dixon, Paul Gramann, September 2003

This paper will review the development and design of the DaimlerChrysler 4.7L V-8 engine. The new plastic cover module comprised of a glass reinforced vinyl ester thermoset was developed in just 12 months and replaces a magnesium component. Significant cost savings were realized while incrementally improving noise vibration and harshness (NVH). Extensive finite element analyses (FEA) including mold filling analysis and anistropic property calculation were utilized to ensure robust system performance. This collaborative effort eliminated the prototype step for the cover housing which in turn reduced development time and cost by allowing the component to move directly from design to production. This capability also allowed NVH improvement to be realized over the already favorable acoustical performance of the previous die-cast magnesium component.

Use of Composites for Rear Closures
Stephanie Ader, Rodolphe Mallet, September 2003

When INOPLASTIC OMNIUM the Joint Venture between PLASTIC OMNIUM AUTO EXTERIEUR and INOPLAST was born in 1998 its production of composite liftgates and trunks was 400 parts / day. In 2000 IPO produced 800 liftgates / day and this expansion went on to reach 2500 parts produced daily in 2003. In the same time other Tier 1 suppliers had a similar growth: in 2000 3.2 % of European liftgates were made of plastic whereas they are 4.7 % in 2003 and this number is still growing. This evolution raises the question: “why is the use of composite rear closures so interesting?”. The composite solutions for rear closures present several technical economical and industrial advantages. We will highlight some of those advantages in this paper and illustrate them on precise examples coming from the experience of IPO on its current productions: Weight reduction Antenna interior trim and exterior cladding integration 15 kph insurance rear impact management Capital investment reduction OEM industrial management: cycle time improvement and harmonization. We will also show how the new improvements of automotive Tier 1 suppliers on closure function and on materials & processes can bring composite liftgates and trunks new advantages.

New 2-Layer Automotive Body-Panel System Using Lightweight Thermoplastic Composite Backside & Aesthetic Surfaces
H. Dittmar, T. Hofmann, D. LoPresti, B. Vos, D. Urban, September 2003

The automotive industry has long sought new materials for exterior body panels. Metals are heavy easily dented many corrode and all require complex tooling to meet today's styling requirements. Thermoplastics offer good impact strength design freedom Class-A finish and cost effectiveness but lack stiffness and strength for truly structural applications. Thermoset composites are lighter stiffer and have simpler tooling than metals or injection molded thermoplastics but require extensive secondary-finishing operations to achieve Class A. Thermoplastic composties offer significantly higher stiffness and strength than unreinforced thermoplastics but cannot provide a glossy Class-A surface although they have long been used in applications where a grained first surface is acceptable. This paper reviews innovative work on a 2-layer body-panel system incorporating a new lighter weight structural thermoplastic composite backside and an aesthetic surface layer-either precoated aluminum or inherently colored thermoplastic or paint films- to meet aesthetic requirements. Topics to be covered include materials molding and target applications.

Carbon Fiber Composite Applications for Auto Industries
Tetsu Kyono, Yukitane Kimoto, Yasuyuki Kawanomoto, September 2003

Carbon fiber composite drive shaft having crush worthiness which had been developed for rear drive passenger cars will be described. Crash load generated during head collision can be absorbed by newly developed joining technology with no adhesive between carbon fiber composite tube and steel adapter. This technology can add safety value to passenger cars in addition to conventional advantages of composite drive shaft such as weight and noise reductions. Its materials design concept performance data of the composite drive shaft system will be discussed in the paper.

One Piece DLFT Automotive Running Boards
Charles Weber, Scott Ledebuhr, Garek Barum, September 2003

Decoma International has developed a one piece composite running board utilizing Composite Products’ patented AdvantageTM inline compounding technology. Running boards are currently in production on the F250/350 Regular Super and Crew cabs Explorer and Mountaineer vehicles. The replacement of the 43 piece metal and plastic assembly translates into a running board that meets or exceeds performance requirements at a significant cost savings to the OEM at half the weight. Composite Products Inc. has commercialized this in-line compounding technology to produce long fiber thermoplastic composite solutions for various automotive applications. AdvantageTM systems continuously compound thermoplastic resin with fiber reinforcements such as chopped fiber glass carbon or natural fibers to produce finished composites with outstanding toughness and excellent exterior appearance characteristics.

Renewable Source Materials Phase II
Peter W. Vaccarella, September 2003

In phase I soy-based polyesters were introduced in the form of sheet molding compound (SMC) to be used in farm equipment such as combines. In phase II soy-based polyester will be evaluated in the spray- up infusion and resin transfer molding (RTM) processes for similar types of application. Each system was evaluated at room temperature and 120 ° F for surface quality cure and molding ability. This paper will discuss shrink control for room temperature cured parts and surface quality as compared to automotive standards. Physical property data will also be compared to standard polyesters and SMC used in these fields.

Biobased Poly(trimethylene terephthalate): Opportunity in Structural Composite Applications
A. K. Mohanty, W. Liu, L. T. Drzal, M. Misra, Joseph V. Kurian, Ray W. Miller, Nick Strickland, September 2003

Injection molded composite materials as fabricated from chopped glass fiber and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) PTT are evaluated through their physico-mechanical and thermo-mechanical analysis. The fiber-matrix adhesion in composite is studied through environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). The tensile and flexural properties including impact strength of virgin polymer improved drastically on fiber reinforcements. Simultaneous improvement of both stiffness and toughness of composite materials show strong potential in structural applications. The high heat distortion temperature HDT (>220 degree C) of such composite materials possess strong promise in automotive and building product applications.

Bio-Based Epoxy/Clay Nanocomposites as a New Matrix for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites: Thermophysical and Mechanical Properties Evaluations
H. Miyagawa, A. K. Mohanty, M. Misra, L. T. Drzal, September 2003

The thermophysical properties of bio-based epoxy nanocomposites reinforced with organo-montmorillonite clay and the mechanical properties of carbon fiber reinforced plastics whose matrix is the bio-based epoxy/clay nanocomposites are reported. A novel sample preparation scheme was used to process the organically modified clay in the glassy bio-based epoxy network resulting in nanocomposites where the clay was homogeneously dispersed and completely exfoliated in the bio-based epoxy network. The storage modulus of bio-based epoxy at room temperature which was below the glass transition temperature of the nanocomposites increased approximately 0.9 GPa with the addition of 5.0 weight percent of exfoliated clay platelets. The glass transition temperature Tg decreased with addition of the organo-clay nanoplatelets. To understand the role of clay platelets in the bio-based epoxy nanocomposites the microstructure of clay platelets were observed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS). Carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRP) were processed using the bio-based epoxy/clay nanocomposites. No difference in elastic modulus and flexural strength was observed regardless of the use of different matrices. It was observed that the interlaminar shear strength of CFRP with bio-based epoxy was improved with adding 5.0 weight percent intercalated clay nanoparticles.

Impact-Tolerant SMC Resins for Demanding Structural Applications
Sean P. Walsh, September 2003

Composite materials have penetrated the transportation market where their lower total component cost and lighter weight have made them the material of choice. As designers and engineers become more comfortable with the use of composites they are being specified in more demanding load-bearing applications. Structural thermoset resins combine high modulus the ability to efficiently translate reinforcing fiber properties with the elasticity to withstand the high stresses and strains of load bearing applications. A new generation of impact-tolerant structural thermoset resins has been developed that have the high modulus critical to achieving maximum structural properties yet exhibit the toughness of thermoplastics. These tough thermosetting resins absorb high transient loads without suffering micro-structural damage that can propagate to failure after repeated mechanical chemical and environmental exposures. Cast resin properties and reinforced composite properties show the potential of these materials as a cost-effective option for transportation applications. Efficiency of reinforcing fiber utilization allows weight reduction without sacrificing structural performance. These new impact-tolerant materials can be processed with standard techniques at the production rates typical of high volume processes such as SMC at very low scrap rates. Composite formulation latitude allows tailoring the mechanical dimensional and appearance properties that typically make composite materials an economically attractive choice.

Cost Effective Use of Carbon Fiber SMC
Brian Hull, September 2003

Viper demonstrated the capability of carbon fiber SMC and the benefit it offers high performance vehicles. That was an important and necessary first step for the broader use of carbon reinforced composites in the automotive industry. The next critical step for carbon fiber SMC (CFSMC) is to make it cost competitive. Only then can CFSMC move beyond high performance vehicles and into the broader automotive market. In the broader market with lower performance requirements CFSMC is not cost competitive. However there is a great deal of work being done all along the supply chain to address the key cost drivers for CFSMC. Once the competitive cost targets are reached CFSMC will be able to compete with glass reinforced SMC as well as Aluminum. In the mean time there is a cost effective approach for using CFSMC in current parts and new applications that need increased stiffness. The key is to use CFSMC where it provides the maximum benefit at the lowest cost.

Structural RIM Choices for Today's Automotive Design
Terry Seagrave, September 2003

Bayer Polymers has been engaged in extensive development of Structural RIM (SRIM) polyurethane materials for over two decades. Out of these developments two traditional plus one new composite technologies have evolved. These afford the automotive designers as well as the engineers to capitalize on the composite advantages that are increasing with the demand for lighter weight cars and trucks. This paper discusses these three composite technologies. Historically SRIM composite have enjoyed interior applications such as door panels roof modules instrument panel retainers sunshades spare tire covers etc. Additionally SRIM materials have enjoyed exterior applications such as seat frames bumper beams truck boxes midgates and tailgates. Recent Bayer SRIM developments have brought about another composite technology choice. This technology combines traditional reinforcing materials with honeycomb cores. The result is a lighter weight composite than ever before with exceptional load bearing properties. Since a variety of manufacturing processes and/or equipment are involved to produce SRIM composites some process descriptions are discussed. Finally real production applications in use today are provided as typical examples.

Innovative Process Technology LFT-D-NF Offers New Possibilities for Emission Reduced Long-Natural Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Components
Frank Henning, Heinrich Ernst, Richard Brussel, September 2003

Automotive components manufactured by using long- fiber reinforced thermoplastics have been firmly established for years for the purpose of large-scale production of semi-structural automotive components. In particular the LFT direct processing method using glass reinforcements has increasingly achieved its objectives due to its cost saving potential and excellent material characteristics and it is the base of operation for the processing of natural fibers. As a manufacturer of LFT and GMT processing plants Dieffenbacher GmbH & Co. meets the high requirements regarding material quality in order to guarantee a process for safe part production including an acquisition and evaluation system (SPC) of process data. The North America Division Dieffenbacher DNA offers this solution to the American market. The process modifications as well as some material properties will be introduced and discussed in this paper.

Compounding with Pushtrusion" Technology "
Stephen T. Bowen, September 2003

Pushtrusion"™ is a new technology that combines continuous fiber reinforcement with molten polymer creating fiber reinforced compounds during the molding process. The continuous reinforcing fibers are cut to specified lengths to create short fiber compounds long fiber compounds or even continuous fiber reinforced materials. The "Pushtrusion" technology can be used with many part forming processes including injection molding compression molding extrusion and filament winding. "Pushtrusion" is a patented process developed by Woodshed Technologies Inc. The process is licensed to end-users. Equipment is manufactured to use existing molding machines (retro-fit) or for new molding machines with pushtrusion technology integrated by licensed OEM machine manufacturers. "

Advanced Technologies for Design and Fabrication of Composite Automotive Components
Scott Wellman, Ron Averill, Johanna Burgueno, September 2003

Structural composites are available in various forms and functionality providing the designer a tremendous amount of flexibility to develop innovative compostie design solutions. But these advantages often cannot be realized without novel manufacturing methods that can accommodate hererogeneous parts of complex shape. Today new manufacturing methods allow the designer to satisfy specific local strength criteria by judicious selection and placement of materials. At the same time the freedom of complex component geometry provides the added benefits of combining multiple components/operations into a one-piece compression molded component. These new material combinations and manufacturing techniques provide a vast and comprehensive set of new opportunities for novel design solutions that exceed previous performance overcome previous limitations and stretch the limits of previous engineering design intuition. In order to take full advantage of these new materials and manufacturing techniques advanced automated design optimization technologies can be used to discover creative solutions. These methods dramatically improve the relevance and speed of complex manual design processes truncating them from months to days or even hours. They concurrently explore hundreds of design parameters and their relationships in product and process design scenarios and intelligently seek optimal values for parameters that affect performance and cost. These design tools have been used in the development of several FRP structural programs solely focused on replacing traditional materials like steel aluminum and cast iron. In this paper a new composite manufacturing method and a new design optimization technique are discussed briefly. Several example applications to real automotive composite components are described to illustrate the benefits of combining advanced manufacturing and design methods to realize novel composite solutions at a fraction of the weight of equivalent metallic parts.

Energy Absorption in Thermoplastically Stamped Composite Grid Structures
Changsheng Gan, Ronald F. Gibson, Golam M. Newaz, September 2003

This paper summarizes results from an analytical/experimental study of the energy absorption characteristics of grid-stiffened composite structures under transverse loading. Tests and finite element simulations were carried out for quasi-static loading of isogrid E-glass/polypropylene panels in 3-point bending. Test panels were fabricated by using a thermoplastic stamping process and co-mingled E-glass/polypropylene yarns. The results of the tests and simulations show that these types of structures have excellent energy absorption characteristics and that most of the energy absorption occurs beyond initial failure. Results for isogrid panels loaded on the skin side will be compared with similar results for loading on the rib side and conclusions regarding design of such structures for energy absorption will be offered.

Roll Forming of Advanced Thermoplastic Composite Materials
R. J. Dykes, September 2002

Roll forming is one of the most efficient and pervasive metal working technologies for forming metallic sheet. Recently this technology has been successfully adapted for forming a variety of fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. This paper offers a general overview of the roll forming operation as well as a summary of recent advances in the processing technology. An outline of the various application areas is also summarized with particular emphasis given to the potential cost savings that can be achieved using the roll forming method.

Developments in Thermoplastic Door Modules
Maria Cilberti, September 2002

The use of door modules as a pre-assembled functional unit inside a car door is discussed. This includes reasons why a door module should be used and why a long glass fibre reinforced PP material is a good choice. As an example the development of the door modules for the new Ford Fiesta is given including the mechanical and production design of the StaMax P carrier. Special attention is paid to the excellent dimensional reproducibility of this material. Further integration potential for future door modules is also highlighted.

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