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
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (Pha) Based Sustainable Biocomposites With High Mechanical And Barrier Properties In Packaging
Akhilesh Pal, March 2019
This research work is focused on the melt extrusion of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) with poly (butylene adipate-co-terephtalate) (PBAT) and nanoclay followed by preparing polymer nanocomposite sheets using compression moulding. The effect of nanoclay on various properties such as water barrier, tensile strength, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and rheology was investigated. The results conclude the addition of nanoclay in PHBV/PBAT blend matrix improved the water barrier and tensile strength up to ~12% and ~20% respectively. The differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis shows a slight improvement in melting and crystallization temperatures of PHBV/PBAT blend matrix by adding nanoclay. The melt rheology has confirmed a good dispersion of nanoparticles in PHBV/PBAT blend matrix. Hence, such a polymer bionanocomposites may be one of the potential candidate for packaging applications. The developed biocomposites from biodegradable plastics show promise in sustainable packaging applications.
Preliminary Study On Impact Evaluation Of Rpet Samples Using Reactive And Non-Reactive Modifiers
Keith Vorst, March 2019
The demand for recycled plastics in food contact packaging by consumers, brand owners, and regulatory agencies has put pressure on suppliers and converters to increase post-consumer content. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) has been widely adopted for use retail environments for refrigerated and ambient products. This increased demand for post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in food packaging is fundamental to meeting environmental sustainability objectives and thus must be available for application in all cold chain markets. However, reduced impact performance due to increasing PCR content and feedstock variation has limited broader market adoption in low temperature and frozen products. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of reactive and non-reactive impact modifiers to increase the impact performance of PCR and RPET in commercially manufactured cake trays. Results of this study found the optimum loading ratio and performance in RPET was realized using a reactive modifier at 15% for an increase of 51-118% in impact performance. This study will help provide solutions for users of RPET looking to increase performance in refrigerated and frozen products.
Processing Of Poly(Lactic Acid) Blown Films With Food Grade Chain Extenders For Packaging Applications
LAURENT MATUANA, March 2019
Poly(lactic acid) or PLA films are brittle and difficult to manufacture due to PLA’s insufficient melt strength, which are overcome by chain branching with melt strength enhancers (MSEs). Thus, the effectiveness and efficiency of two newly developed and FDA-approved food grades MSEs with different epoxy equivalent weights (low and high) in chain extending PLA were studied first using a torque rheometer. Both multifunctional epoxies chain-extended PLA effectively since they significantly increased the torque during mixing. However, the MSE with lower epoxy equivalent weight was more efficient in chain branching PLA due to its higher reactivity. Secondly, the feasibility of utilizing this most efficient MSE in extrusion-blown PLA film processing was assessed. Chain extension reactions also occurred during film production as confirmed by its increased molecular weight. However, film manufacture was only feasible for blends with up to 0.5% MSE, becoming unprocessable above this content due to the increased viscosity. Chain branching of PLA film was found beneficial in overcoming its brittleness since its impact strength increased almost linearly with the chain extender content. These sustainable ductile films have tremendous potential for food packaging applications.
Recycled Cellulose Polypropylene Composite Feedstocks For Polymer Additive Manufacturing
Nicole Zander, March 2019
With the rapidly expanding polymer additive manufacturing space, re-use and recycling of thermoplastics should be considered. Recent research has shown the recycling of some commercial grade filaments such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) is feasible. In addition, consumer-grade thermoplastics used in packaging can be considered a low-cost and sustainable feedstock for material extrusion additive manufacturing processes, providing a high-value output for waste plastics. Green composite filaments made by incorporating recycled cellulose and rubber-based materials can lead to 3-D printed parts with improved stiffness, toughness and/or reduced distortion. Plastic recycling is currently limited due to the low value of recycled content and high transportation and collection costs. But distributed manufacturing via additive manufacturing, in which 3-D printing filament is generated from local plastic waste, represents an economically viable solution to plastic recycling. This paper presents work in the reinforcement of recycled polypropylene using cellulose waste materials to generate a green composite feedstock for extrusion-based polymer additive manufacturing. Dynamic mechanical analysis showed a ca. 20-30% increase in storage modulus with the addition of cellulose materials. Tensile results show that elastic modulus increased 38 % in virgin polypropylene with the incorporation of 10% cellulose.
Recycling Of Polyethylene Grocery Bags Into High-Strength Fibers And Yarns Without Using Melt Processing
Donggang Yao, March 2019
A critical issue facing man kind is how to effectively recycle plastic grocery bags. Currently, the most proven practice for bag recycling is to create numerous returning sites throughout the nation. However, the success is compromised by the voluntary nature of such activities. In this work, we investigate an alternative approach to bag returning, by diverting recycling activities directly to consumers or end users at home. Specifically, a simple process for converting waste bags into high-strength fibers and yarns is designed and tested in a feasibility study. The results demonstrate that by twisting and hot drawing, high-strength polymer yarns with mechanical properties at least comparable to those of commodity polymer fibers can be created. This may open up a new paradigm in plastic bags recycling and allow part of the recycling burden to be shifted to local residential communities.
Resistance Heating Of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics – Influences On Heating Rate And Temperature Distribution
Jochen Wellekoetter, March 2019
Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) experience increasing demand by industry. Compared to their thermoset counterpart, they are considered to allow for shorter production cycles and offer more and better joining and recycling solutions. Usually, continuous fiber reinforced semi-finished parts are produced and then prepared for a back injection molding process to add functional integration. The resistance or joule heating process utilizes the electrical conductivity and accompanying heat dissipation of embedded carbon fibers. Thus, a short and homogenous heating process can be achieved. The main challenges that arise with resistance heating are the optimization of the electrical contact pieces as well as the shape and build of the semi-finished part. The heating process of several variations of contact pieces and shapes are monitored using thermal imaging. An algorithm is developed to automatically analyze key aspects of the heating process allowing for easy comparison of different parameter sets. Key results show that rounded edges for copper contact pieces and high contact forces yield homogenous temperature distributions and prevent hot spots while higher voltages result in less homogenous temperature distributions but higher heating rates.
Rheological Method Development: Using Rheological Tools To Predict Thermoformability
Mary Ann Jones, March 2019
Extrusion thermoforming of very large parts such as those used in the appliance industry can exceed the melt strength limits of a given polymer. This study was undertaken to define new rheological tests capable of defining the molecular design required to avoid excessive sag in the heating step of the thermoforming process and to identify the optimum temperature for forming. Damping factor (tan  = G’’/G’), also known as “tan delta”, can be used as a tool to identify fabrication conditions, molding window size, and the effect of added recycle streams. In addition, we compare polymer families that challenge our ability to thermoform large parts. Semi-crystalline materials must be run at or above their melting point temperature (Tm). Tm is well above the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the temperature delta (Tm - Tg) may exceed the width of any rubber plateau region in the melt state. These rheological characteristics are related back to the entanglement density of a given polymer and compared to the width of the rubber plateau.
Statistical Modeling Of The Squeak Noise Occurrence Of Natural Rubber
Byunghyun Kang, March 2019
In this study, the occurrence of the squeak noise according to various material / environmental factors of natural rubber was found through friction test using custom built friction tester. Material factors such as rubber hardness, surface roughness and additive content, and environmental factors such as heat aging, temperature, surface moisture, friction speed and frictional load are considered. And the hypothesis test was conducted to determine whether there was a significant correlation between each factor and the occurrence of squeak noise. Afterwards, logistic regression analysis and neural network analysis, which considers the interactions among these factors, were performed using the statistically significant factors in the occurrence of squeak noise obtained by the hypothesis test, and a probability model of the occurrence of the squeak noise was developed. And we compared the occurrence of the squeak noise predicted by the two models with the actual occurrence of the squeak noise, and the result shows 88.15% and 87.16% of accuracy, respectively. We also verify the accuracy of two models by using receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC curve), which illustrates the diagnostic ability of a model.
Study On Thermal Characteristics And Mechanical Properties Of Poly(Lactic Acid)/Paraffin Wax Blends
Yann-Jiun Chen, March 2019
Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) plastics have been popularly applied on many bio-degradable products and claimed as a green polymer materials for environmental concerns. In this study, a poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/paraffin wax (PW) composites with blends containing different amounts of PW and different compounding times have been developed and investigated. These composites blends were prepared by a micro-compounder with twin screw. Then, a neat PLA and the PLA/PW composites have been used to fabricate tensile specimens by micro injection molding machine. Effects caused by different compounding time and PLA/PW ratios, the thermal behavior and mechanical properties have been tested and investigated. Moreover, distribution and dispersion of PW in the PLA matrix have been observed in optical microscope and then calculated for comparison. Experimental results showed that the addition of PW yields significant improvements in ductility and toughness compared to that of neat PLA. The crystallinity and complex viscosity have also been improved. Finally, the samples of PLA/PW made by longer compounding time exhibits better distribution. Results of this study can be used for developing PLA/PW composites for bio-prosthesis for implants applications. Keywords: poly(lactic acid); paraffin wax; compounding time; injection molding;
The Effect Of Hygrothermal Exposure On The Thermal Conductivity Of Nanocellulose Based Foams
Whitney LaMarche, March 2019
Environmentally friendly insulation and packaging materials, driven by consumers and growing stringent global regulations against plastics, make biobased alternative materials a competitive market. Cellulose-based foams, consisting mainly of cellulose, are a greener replacement option over traditional petroleumbased insulation materials. One of the challenges associated with cellulose-based foams is their susceptibility to moisture, especially at elevated temperatures. Composite foams of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were fabricated using a freeze casting method with a wide range of cooling rates during freezing. The physical properties of the foams, i.e., density, porosity and thermal conductivity were then evaluated before and after hygrothermal exposure at 40 °C with a relative humidity range from 96 to 77%. The results showed that the foams prepared with the highest rate of freezing exhibited the lowest relative density (0.019 g/cm3) and the lowest thermal conductivity (20 mW/mK). In general, the foams’ thermal conductivity increased after hygrothermal exposure. However, the foams with the highest freezing rate exhibited recoverable thermal conductivity behavior after exposure to heat and moisture. The possible mechanism for the differences were also discussed.
Ultrafast Removal Of Pathogens From Wastewater Using Acid-Base Foams
Pavani Cherukupally, March 2019
Bacteria adhesive surfaces (BAS) have diverse applications, such as water treatment, biofuels, and solvents production. However, currently their large-scale usage is hindered by high materials cost. Inexpensive open-cell foams can potentially serve as substrates for low-cost BAS, enabling their wider usage. This work demonstrates a passive approach for attachment of Escherichia coli or E. coli to a polyester polyurethane open-cell foam surface using pH of the wastewater. The foam’s ionic-responsive charge property was used to bind negatively charged bacteria to its pore surface at different pH conditions. At the best pH condition, the foam adsorbed E. coli with over 99% efficiency. The pH-driven bacteria adhesion to foam surface is simple, effective, and passive, therefore has potential for industrial-scale applications.
Why Titanates And Zirconates Are Better Than Silanes
Salvatore Monte, March 2019
Added to the hopper just like a color concentrate, 2 to 3 parts of a phosphato titanate or zirconate in pellet masterbatch form per 1,000 parts of filled or unfilled compound provides a method (Function 1-Coupling) for in-situ interfacial nano-surface modification of most all inorganic and organic materials in a compound independent of the interface’s hydroxyl content and absent the need for water to effect hydrolysis for coupling as with silanes while providing metallocene-like repolymerization catalysis (Function 2-Catalysis) and (Function 3) nano-intumescence for flame retardance resulting in: the use of larger amounts of regrind and recycle; copolymerization of blends of dissimilar addition and condensation polymers such as HDPE, PP and PET; prevention of delamination of PP/HDPE blends; faster production cycles at lower temperatures producing thermoplastic parts having less heat stress differentials, better finish, and increased stressstrain strength; and control of burn rate and burn rate exponent. Compounds having subject additives age better due to the removal of water at the polymer-reinforcement interface normally left when using a silane or no additives that cause loss of adhesion during water boil tests.
INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF THE FEEDSTOCK SHAPE ON ULTRASONIC MICROINJECTION MOULDING
M Gulcur | B. R. Whiteside | P. D. Coates, March 2019
Ultrasonic microinjection moulding technology uses ultrasound energy for melting the standard pellet-shaped polymer feedstock used in the plastics industry to facilitate melting of the material prior to the flow into the mould cavity. During the melting phase, the pellets are compressed against the sonotrode surface by using appropriate forces applied by an injection plunger. The pellets act as conductors of the acoustic energy and the contact points between the pellets act as initiators of the melting due to an interfacial friction heating mechanism. Both the pellet geometries and contact areas vary from shot to shot (due to variations in the pellet manufacturing process and the random distribution of pellets as they fall into the melting chamber) which causes process variation and a lack of repeatability of final product quality.  In order to overcome these issues, a more regular feedstock geometry was adopted. Identical disc shaped preforms were used in an ultrasonic micromolding process and compared with the process using standard pellets. The temperature distribution within the material was monitored for each feedstock geometry using a high-speed infrared camera. Characteristic features of the temperature profiles were analyzed and compared together with the final part quality. Results suggest that the initial contact interfaces of the polymer feedstock play a significant role in ultrasonic micromolding for micro-feature replication. 
Intellectual Property (IP) - An Integral Part of Your Business
Ng Chong Yuan, August 2019
What is Intellectual Property (IP)? IP commonly refers to creations of the human mind: New discoveries, New product designs, Original pieces of art, music, drama and literary work (including software codes) and Recognizable brands. When IP is protected by law, it gives rise to IP rights and IP assets: IP rights give IP owners control over the use of their IP: (i) for themselves and their licensees; and (ii) for a specific period of time.
Plasticizer Migration Assessment in Medical Applications
Jezz Lim, August 2019
Migration of Plasticizer: Diffusion rate = diffusion coefficient .concentration gradient; Diffusion coefficient –molecular weight, property of the diffusing medium (density, crystallinity, glass transition temperature), plasticizer -diffusing medium interaction, temperature, pressure etc.; Plasticizer migration can compromise the mechanical strength and aesthetic appearance of plastics.
ZEISS Microscopy Solutions for Polymers and Chemicals Research
Sky Xie, August 2019
Improve performance of polymers and chemicals. Image beam sensitive materials. In situ solutions for polymers and chemicals. Multi modal microscopy. Correlative microscopy. Advanced microscopy in 3D
Circular Meterials for Single-Use Flexible Packaging
Yap Chin Chong | Leong Yew Wei, August 2019
Chemical solutions for a circular economy: Mechanical recycling (Re-use: PET/PP/PE); Plastic waste to fuel (Conversion: PP/PE); Plastic waste to fine chemical (PS); Dynamic reversible crosslinker; Self-immolative, polymers; Fully recycle monomer-polymer-monomer; Bioplastics
Design for Additive Manufacturing - Autodesk Generative Design
Leong Kok Heng, August 2019
Autodesk Generative Design: Multiple methods of Manufacturability (Additive, Subtractive, Formative); Multiple materials; Combinations of Loads; No defined Volume; Part Consolidation
XRF Analysis of Polymer
Bruker Corp., August 2019
What is XRF?A method for qualitative and quantitative analysis of the elemental composition by excitation of atoms and detection of their characteristic X-rays. Polymer analysis with XRF, how does it work? Minerals: Calcite CaCO3; XRF provide elemental information; Stoichiometry by calculation or user input (CaO or CaCO3); Evaluation based on 100% known matrix, i.e everything is measured; Polymer: matrix is balance (100-X) as {CxHyOz}.
An Extreme World Needs Extreme Materials
Wenda Chen, August 2019
6 research platforms dedecated to sustainable development: New energies; Biosourced materials; Water treatment; Home efficiency and insulation; Lightweight materials; Consumer electronics.


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