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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
To the Measurement and Influences of Process Parameters Variations on the Axial Melt Temperature Profile in the Screw Chamber of an Injection Molding Machine
Klaus Straka, Bernhard Praher, Michael Hettrich-Keller, Georg Steinbichler, May 2017
Previous attempts to accurately measure the real polymer melt temperature in the screw chamber have failed due to the challenging metrological boundary conditions (high pressure, high temperature, rotational and axial screw movement) in the plasticizing unit. We developed a novel ultrasound system - based on reflection measurements - for the online determination of these important process parameter. The system is compared to an infra-red- (IR-) camera system, which measures the melt temperature during an air shot in front of the nozzle. The recorded data of the measurement systems are used to study the influence of process parameter variations on the melt temperature profile in the screw chamber of a reciprocating single screw plasticizing unit.
Crystallization Studies of Poly (Lactic Acid) during Extrusion Foaming
Alireza Tabatabaei, Chul B. Park, May 2017
The poly (lactic acid) (PLA) crystallization behavior was investigated during an extrusion process via visualization techniques. Effects of various processing parameters, such as extruder barrel temperature profiles, the system pressure, the flow rate, and the blowing agent content, on formation of PLA crystallites in the melt flow were discussed. Various observations and results are reported. First, the PLA crystallites were visualized by decreasing the barrel temperature at a low flow rate. Then, it was visualized and quantified that a sudden increase in the flow rate, under the identical cooling protocol, enhanced the PLA crystallization dramatically. Moreover, by introduction of CO2 into the system, the PLA crystallites formed at a lower temperature profile. Finally, it was revealed that the induced crystallites improved the foaming behavior of extruded foams through minimizing the cell coalescence.
Fill Ratio Distribution in a Co-Rotating Self-Wiping Twin Screw Extruder—Theoretical and Experimental Study
Kentaro Taki, Shin-ichiro Tanifuji, Takemasa Sugiyama, Jun-ichi Murata, Isao Tsujimura, May 2017
Filling ratio is an important process parameter related to the residence time distribution and thermal history of resin in a twin-screw extruder. This study presents a theoretical method of filling ratio distribution calculated by our newly developed 2.5 D Hele–Shaw flow model and finite element method. The calculated filling ratio distribution of a full-flight screw was validated by on-line measurement of resin volume with the laser light section method. The calculation and measurement results were in good agreement.
Rheology of Ballistic Clay: the Effect of Temperature and Shear History
Ran Tao, Kirk D. Rice, Aaron M. Forster, May 2017
Ballistic clay is used as a backing material for standards-based ballistic resistance tests for the purposes of providing a measure of the energy transferred to the body when a threat is defeated. However, this material exhibits complex thermomechanical behavior under actual usage conditions. In this work, we characterize rheological properties of the standard backing clay material, Roma Plastilina No. 1, used for body armor testing, using a rubber process analyzer. Test methods employed include oscillatory strain sweep, frequency sweep, and oscillatory strain ramp. The results show that the material is highly nonlinear, thermorheologically complex, and thixotropic. The modulus decreases under dynamic deformation and partially recovers when the deformation is discontinued. Experimental protocols developed in this study can be applied for the characterization of other synthetic clay systems.
Enhanced Dispersion of Particle Additive into Polymers Using Twin Screw Extrusion with Ultrasound Assistance
Karnik Tarverdi, Kun Qi, Jack Silver, May 2017
Most plastics products are made from a base polymer mixed with complex blends of materials known collectively as additives, to ensure that the physical, mechanical and surface properties of the final product is optimised in all aspects. This will include safer, cleaner product possessing optimal colour and properties. Fine additives such as fillers or coloured pigments are most widely used and the improved technique for dispersing particles into polymer is highly demanding in industrial practice. A USV (ultra-sonication and vibration) assisted process during twin screw extrusion system was implemented and the dispersion results tested in our labs and the technology transferred to our industrial partner’s manufacturing facility. Particle additives such as clay, organic and inorganic pigments were compounded and tested using USV assisted twin screw extrusion.
Enhancement of Appearance, Stiffness, and Toughness of Olefinic Blown Films with Cycic Olefin Copolymers
Paul D. Tatarka, May 2017
Cyclic olefin copolymers (COC) offer many benefits for packaging films, including stiffness, strength, transparency, gloss, heat resistance, improved thermoforming, moisture, and alcohol barrier to name a few. Using full factorial experimental design, COC glass transition temperature, COC modification and blow-up ratio were studied to show how COC influences performance of several key blown film properties. Three-layer packaging films can be engineered with modified COC to provide higher than expected toughness, strength, and stiffness. By splitting COC into at least two layers in five layer structures, further significant property enhancements are possible without changing COC content.
High Strain Rate Testing and Modeling of Polymers for Use in Finite Element Simulations
Sean Teller, Jorgen S. Bergström, Gregory R. Freeburn, May 2017
Finite element analysis plays a crucial role in modern engineering problems, enabling engineers to predict the response of designed parts at any point in the design process. Specifying a constitutive model that accurately captures the mechanical response of a polymer material is paramount to obtaining useful results. In order to understand the capabilities of commercial FE packages used to simulate problems involving polymers, we have tested the uniaxial response of polyamide in tension and compression over six decades of strain rate. We then calibrated four constitutive models to the experimental data: an Abaqus Parallel Rheological Framework model, the LS-DYNA SAMP-1 model, the ANSYS Bergström-Boyce model, and the PolyUMod Three Network model. We compared the performance of the four models in predicting the experimental data; the Three Network model had the lowest error. Additionally, we compared the runtime of a simple test case for each model; the ANSYS Bergström-Boyce model being the fastest.
Impact of the Process-Induced Microstructure on the Mechanical Performance of Injection Molded Long Glass Fiber Reinforced Polypropylene
Jan Teuwsen, Sebastian Goris, Tim A. Osswald, May 2017
The deformation of the material during injection molding of fiber filled composites causes a process-induced change in the fiber configuration. The local fiber orientation, fiber concentration, and fiber length within the molded part varies in thickness direction and along the flow path. This heterogeneous fiber microstructure inevitably results in anisotropic and locally varying mechanical properties. This paper presents a detailed experimental analysis of the microstructure of long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene (PP) plates and its influence on the mechanical properties. Large and thin center-gated plates are injection molded with three different nominal fiber concentrations (20, 40, and 60 wt%) and an initial fiber length of 15 mm. The analysis comprises local fiber orientation, fiber concentration, and fiber length measurements conducted by means of advanced measurement techniques, including micro-computed tomography (µCT) and digital image processing. Tensile test results reveal the correlation between the process-induced fiber configuration and the mechanical properties. The results of this experimental study verify a distinct seven-layered fiber orientation pattern for industry relevant nominal fiber concentrations. Besides a nominal fiber concentration and flow length dependent reduction of the average fiber length, the measurements suggest a non-uniform fiber orientation and fiber concentration distribution through the part thickness and along the flow path. Tensile test results show that tensile modulus increases with nominal fiber concentration, whereas tensile strength does not increase above 40 wt%. The process-induced fiber configuration causes a larger degree of anisotropy of the mechanical performance in high fiber-filled components (40 wt% and 60 wt%).
A Novel Approach to Evaluate Lifetime of Complex Plastic Applications Part I: Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics (SFRP)
Joel Thambi, Julien Cathelin, Erik Stam, Sepehr Harsiny, Tim van Erp, May 2017
Lifetime evaluation methodologies are gaining more focus and importance in the area of fiber reinforced engineering thermoplastics. Plastic applications are potentially subjected to harsh environments, where the lifetime of components can be significantly reduced. Failure due to fatigue and its consequent lifetime evaluation is particularly based on empirical studies, due to the interaction of multiple factors. The methodology proposed here based on 3D-optical techniques together with digital image correlations (DIC), establishes a generalized energy based fatigue model. The methodology is illustrated on a short fiber reinforced plastic (SFRP) specimen, typically used as a representative part in pressurized fluid applications. This fatigue model will include different influential parameters like ????-ratio, pressure, temperature, and the presence of a weldline, which are seen as critical parameters for failure. The fatigue model is developed using algorithms with surface strain energy density (SSED) that acts as a damage parameter of the component lifetime.
Plane Strain in Thermoforming
Jim Throne, May 2017
Plastic sheet is prestretched in a plane strain fashion as predicted by the Mooney-Rivlin constitutive equation of state. Once the plastic sheet is heated to its desired thermoforming temperature range, it is ready to be stretched into on onto the mold. The sheet is stretched differential pressure across its surface. To achieve a more uniform part wall thickness the sheet is often prestretched. Prestretching is achieved either by differential air pressure or by mechanic means. In the latter case, a shaped solid is pressed into the sheet prior to applying differential pressure. The solid, usually referred to as a plug or pusher, stretches the sheet into or over the mold, prior to the sheet touching the mold surface. After I briefly discuss the general characteristics of the stretching of thermoplastic sheet during thermoforming, I focus on the plastic sheet response during the mechanical prestretching phase of the thermoforming process.
Processing Thermoformable Low-Density Foam
Jim Throne, May 2017
Low-density thermoplastic foams primarily heat by volumetric absorption of incident infrared energy and are primarily formed into functional parts by shear compression in matched tooling. Thermoforming is a secondary process that follows sheet extrusion. The way in which low-density foam sheet is extruded is key to understanding the complex technical issues involved in heating and stretching the sheet into its desired product. I begin by summarizing the general desired methodology needed to produce quality low-density foam sheet. I follow this with discussion of a heating protocol. And conclude with the rationale behind forming the sheet into useful products.
How Important Is the Volumetric Absorption Concept? Part 3 - DPM
Jim Throne, May 2017
This is the third of a three-part series examining the role of volumetric absorption in heating of thermoplastic sheet. In this paper I compare the traditional radiopaque distributed parameter transient one-dimensional heat conduction model (DPM) with a transient heat conduction model with internal heat generation, viz, volumetric absorption of inbound radiant energy. It is apparent from calculations for two sheet thicknesses and two plastics that the two models produce distinctly different temperature profiles. I conclude that more attention needs to be paid to the role volumetric absorption of inbound radiant energy plays in the heating of both thin and thick plastic sheet.
Fabrication of Polypropylene Bio-Composites Utilizing Camelina Press Cake
Brent Tisserat, Mark Berhow, Louis Reifschneider, May 2017
Camelina (Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz, family Brassicaceae) is an emerging oilseed crop which produces high oil content but has a press cake that contains glycosinolates which are potential health risks if employed as an animal feed. As an alternative to a dietaric use Camelina press cake (CAM) was employed as a filler material to fabricate lignocellulosic plastic composites (LPC). LPCs were generated by blending polypropylene (PP) with 25% or 40% CAM with 0% or 5% by weight of maleated PP (MAPP) via a twin screw compounding and injection molding. Injection molded test specimens had mechanical and flexural properties comparable to neat PP.
A Method for Controlling the Mold Filling Volume for BMC Injection Molding
Nicolina Topic, Reinhard Schiffers, Stefan Moser, Dietmar Drummer, May 2017
Bulk molding compound (BMC) compositions are characterized by a comprehensive property profile, which makes this thermoset material attractive for a wide range of high-performance applications. BMC processing by injection molding allows high production rates and the fabrication of parts with a considerable shape complexity. Although the injection molding machine offers a high reproducibility and process reliability, several effects such as material induced disturbances or changing ambient conditions may cause fluctuations in BMC injection molding. The result is a varying part quality for example in the form of volumetric filling differences which causes rejects. The manual adaption of certain process setting parameters presents a possibility to react on disturbances in order to achieve constant part properties. However, the outcome of these adjustments is dependent on the experience of the operator, since an accurate knowledge of the influence of certain setting parameters on individual part quality features is required. In this paper a correlation between process setting parameters and the part filling volume for BMC injection molding is introduced and discussed. The main aim is the development of an adaptive machine function which autonomously compensates occurring disturbances and ensures a constant part filling in BMC injection molding.
Model Investigation of the Cooling Error
Fabian Ullrich, Bernhard Gesenhues, May 2017
Uniform cooling plays a large role in the production of high quality plastic parts. However, simulations to help with this task are often too expensive and complex to perform in the mold’s early design phases. The literature on this topic provides various equations dealing with this issue. The so-called ‘cooling error’ presents an example of the issues surrounding uniform cooling. Some strange experiences with the equation describing the cooling error revealed the need to validate it. This paper examines the cooling error through thermal FEM simulations. The simulated results are then compared to those of the equation given in the literature. It turned out that it is necessary to re-evaluate the equation. Thereafter, the usefulness of the equation is analyzed with further thermal analysis.
A New Test Setup for Testing Polyethylene Tubes under Constant and Cyclic Internal Pressures
Siavash Vahidi, E. Schruba, Y. Sun, M. McCarthy, Y.G. Hsuan, May 2017
A test system was designed to evaluate the failure behavior of a thin-wall small-diameter polyethylene tube under internal pressure. The test setup was capable of delivering constant (static) and cyclic (dynamic) pressure patterns as well as maintaining an elevated testing temperature to accelerate the failure. Desired pressure patterns were obtained by controlling the opening/closing duration of the solenoid valves accordingly. A water-sensing system was used to detect the failure time, particularly for small brittle failure. A data acquisition system based on LabView™ was used to control and record the applied pressures and the failure times. The constant pressure tests were performed at 65 and 75°C and the cyclic pressure tests were performed at 75°C. The test data obtained from the constant pressure tests exhibited two distinguishable linear regions in a log-log plot of hoop stress versus failure time. Slope values of -0.034 and - 0.113 were obtained for ductile and brittle regions, respectively. A brittle failure curve with slope of -0.039 was obtained under the cyclic pressure testing condition. The slow crack growth (SCG) failure was considerably accelerated by the cyclic loading.
Role of Polymer Film Mechanical Behavior in Liquid Packaging Application: Deformation Modeling of Gelbo Test
Pavan Valavala, Ashish Lokhande, Piyush Thakre, Siddharth Athreya, Jeff Zawisza, Sam Crabtree, Rajen Patel, Ty Berilgen, Lamy Chopin III, May 2017
Package integrity assurance for liquid packaging is of paramount importance to safety of packaged products. A transportation related failure mode is described as the development of pinholes in the package. ASTM F392 (Gelbo test) is often used as a screening tool for selecting materials for liquid packages. The objective of the current study is to develop an understanding of the mechanics of the film deformation during this test to help identify mechanical properties of interest. The model predicts that ‘bending rigidity’ and stiffness/toughness ratio of the film play an important role in the performance of the material in a Gelbo test based on simplified assumptions for material behavior. These predictions were verified with experimental data.
Modeling Flexible Package/Granular Material Interation through Combination of Discrete Element Method (DEM) and Finite Element Method (FEM)
Pavan Valavala, Wenbo Xu, Mark Mirgon, Sam Crabtree, Lori Kardos, Didem Oner-Deliormanli, May 2017
A variety of applications use flexible film for shipping solid granular materials. The film/packages must have sufficient toughness and/or strength to endure impact during shipping and handling. Package performance is commonly evaluated using a drop test typically from a certain height specified by ASTM and/or ISTA standards. One limitation of the drop test is that it can only qualitatively determine whether a package will survive. In order to better understand impact type loading which can lead to package failure, more quantitative information such as stresses/strains developed during the drop tests is required. We have developed a model to simulate drop tests of a flexible package containing solid particles. The model utilized some of the capabilities available in Abaqus software package, such as Abaqus/Explicit, Finite Element Method (FEM), and Discrete Element Method (DEM) to capture the interaction between the flexible package and a large amount of solid particles inside. Preliminary results compare well with drop tests carried out in our laboratory.
Flax Fiber-Polyamide 6 Composites via Solid-State Shear Pulverization: Expanding the Portfolio of Natural Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastics
Katsuyuki Wakabayashi, Simon H. E. Vancoillie, Mekdes G. Assfaw, Frederik Desplentere, Aart W. Van Vuure, May 2017
A chilled twin-screw extruder-based processing technique called solid-state shear pulverization (SSSP) explores an opportunity to create a new set of composites made from temperature-sensitive natural fibers and high-temperature melting thermoplastics. Model polyamide 6/ flax fiber composites produced with SSSP are compared to those made by conventional compounding methods. Mechanical property tests indicate that SSSP can defibrillate the flax into elementary fibers, which have superior specific mechanical properties, while retaining the fiber lengths above the critical values. SSSP can produce PA6/flax composites on an industrial scale without excessively degrading or damaging fibers.
Tecobax™ – A New Class of Non-softening Thermoplastic Polyurethanes for Medical Applications
Tony Walder, David Cozzens, Walid Qaqish, Michael J. Wiggins, Murty Vyakarnam, May 2017
Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) are a class of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) that are used in a variety of medical applications. Their characteristics including low temperature flexibility, excellent abrasion resistance, high tensile strength, good processing characteristics, and biocompatibility make them particularly attractive for medical applications by the device design engineers. In general current medical grade TPUs have the unique property of undergoing a reduction in flex modulus when placed in the body. This characteristic is referred to as “softening.” A new class of TPUs has been developed that retains many of the characteristics found attractive by designers but now offers the non-softening characteristic, broadening the design space for TPUs in medical devices. A non-softening TPU may be an attractive material for use in percutaneous interventional catheters where retention of stiffness is desired to enhance trackability and torqueability. Three grades of non-softening TPUs, covering low to mid durometers have been introduced into the market: Tecobax™ 25D, 40D, and 45D. The performance characteristics of these TPUs were measured and compared to other softening TPUs as well as non-softening TPEs. These materials maintain many of the typical TPU characteristics which make them widely used. For example, the 25D, 40D and 45D durometers have excellent tensile strengths and abrasion resistance. Softening characteristics were tested by comparing flexural modulus values at ambient conditions (22°C, 50% RH) to body conditions (100% RH, 37°C). The degree to which these new materials soften, especially in the harder grades, is significantly less than other TPUs but is comparable to non-softening TPEs. Torqueability at body conditions is also comparable to common non-softening TPEs. These materials also offer other unique characteristics which are of particular interest to the medical device community. For example, these materials have a high Vicat softening temperature; the 40D and 45D are above 100°C, resulting in compatibility with steam sterilization. In addition, these materials produce excellent quality extrusion components using standard extrusion equipment. Other unique characteristics and potential medical applications will be discussed.

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