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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

VT-Drifts Studies of Polymer Thermal Decompositions
Robert L. White, Darrel L. Negelein, May 1999

Polymer thermal analysis by using variable temperature diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (VT-DRIFTS) is described. Structure-specific information derived from non-isothermal VT-DRIFTS employing ramp and step heating profiles are compared. Techniques for correlating polymer solid-state structure with infrared spectral features and for distinguishing between reversible and irreversible temperature effects are described. Specific examples of using VT-DRIFTS analysis for characterizing the thermal decomposition mechanisms of poly(styrene)and a nitro-aromatic polymer are given.

The Effects of Filler Size on the Properties of TPO Blends
Tony L. Wong, Carol M.F. Barry, Stephen A. Orroth, May 1999

The effects of filler size on the properties of a TPO blend were examined using wollastonite and talc with particle sizes ranging from 1.2 to 40 µm. While addition of filler produced significant changes in the mechanical properties of the blend, filler size only affected impact strength. However, filler size, filler coating, and injection speed had a major effect on the surface properties of the blend. Faster injection produced denser shear zone layers" which exhibited better scratch resistance and poorer paint adhesion than slower injection. Scratch resistance and paint adhesion also decreased with increasing filler particle size. Filler coatings altered the scratch and adhesion properties of the PP blends."

Relationship between Structure and Rheology of Constrained Geometry Catalyzed and Metallocene Polyethylenes
Paula Wood-Adams, John M. Dealy, May 1999

Constrained geometry catalysts make it possible to control independently various molecular characteristics. The polymers produced with these catalysts are of great interest commercially and make possible the systematic study of the effects of various molecular characteristics on rheological behavior. Several constrained geometry catalyzed and metallocene polyethylenes were subjected to a comprehensive rheological evaluation including linear viscoelastic behavior and non-linear viscoelastic behavior in shear and extension. The effect of molecular weight, short chain branching and long chain branching on the rheology of these materials are described. Based on these results, a procedure was developed for quantifying LCB using linear viscoelastic data and backbone MWD.

Numerical and Experimental Studies of 3-Dimensional Thermoforming Process
G.J. Nam, K.H. Ahn, J.W. Lee, May 1999

Two Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) polymers were thermoformed, and their behavior was compared with numerical simulation. Hot tensile and dynamic oscillatory shear tests were performed at various temperatures to characterize the polymers. Hot tensile test results were used to obtain the material parameters for simulation and to check the relative usefulness of these test parameters in the actual thermoforming process. The thickness distribution obtained from experiments was compared with simulation results. It shows that simulation results based on hyper-elastic rubber like model can predict the deformation behavior of a sheet reasonably well. We could also find that the temperature sensitive polymer in hot tensile test shows more temperature sensitive thickness distribution in actual thermoforming process.

The Measurement of Thermoset Cure Properties with a Novel Rheometer
Henry Pawlowski, Xiaofeng (Joe) Xu, May 1999

The measurement of thermoset cure properties on very hard materials such as epoxies is very difficult especially if they are coated onto a fabric. The application of a new parallel plate rheometer allows the measurement of such cure properties in one simple test. The sample is held firmly in a sealed and pressurized sample chamber. The dies are directly heated resulting in improved repeatability and resolution of gel and cure times. A robust torque transducer allows direct measurement of the final shear modulus in materials. Examples of cure tests are presented for several thermosets.

Plastics in the World to 2020
Françoise Pardos, May 1999

World changes are accelerating in the next ten years, with global vision, instantaneous communications, access to disposable income for increasing numbers, growing needs for infrastructures, housing, roads, telecoms, energy and water distribution networks. Major changes are happening in the world, in the last years of this century, and the turn of the next. We live in extraordinary times. This is not a crisis, it is a major change, long, often difficult to bear, uncertain for the three decades, 1977-2007, coming after the Thirty glorious, very short on a historical scale. It is a change of world, of life and of pace. • A change of world, that has become global in less than fifteen years, with a plus, democracy winning. • A change of life patterns, with the coming of the telectronic world, the almost immediate access to information and other people, a novelty comparable to the new fast transportation of the last one hundred years, yet with an impact even stronger and more universal. • A change of pace. Europe took a century to develop, the US, fifty years, Japan, twenty five years, and the most active emerging countries now may take ten or fifteen years, from ploughs to computers, notwithstanding the recent hurdles and crises. This momentum is a major phenomenon for mankind, even more than the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution, but immediately visible and happening much faster. The average annual rate of growth of 7.5% that brought all solid polymers from 8 million tons in the world in 1960, to 120 million tons in 1997, is to continue, reaching over 210 million tons in 2007 and close to 400 million tons in 2020, using a more conservative annual rate of 5%. The topic is vast, and to give it some perspective in a very short time, it is divided into four parts: • The world economic scene. • Plastics consumption in the main countries and areas of the world. • Plastic markets, with a new split into disposable products, durable goods, building of the inf

Use of PP-g-DEM in Short Sisal Fiber-Reinforced Polypropylene
R. Perera, J. González, M. Ichazo, C. Rosales, C. Albano, May 1999

In this study, the mechanical properties of composites obtained by different combinations of untreated and acetylated short sisal fiber with polypropylene and polypropylene-g-DEM were evaluated. Two PP were employed, PP1 and PP2. The last one was functionalized with diethylmaleate via extrusion. The composites were prepared using 20% of fiber in an intermeshing corotating twin screw extruder followed by injection molding. The results showed that composites containing fiber displayed superior mechanical performance and that PP2-g-DEM used as a third component (coupling agent) increased the elongation at break of composites. However, the acetylated fiber-PP1 composite showed the highest tensile modulus.

Investigation of the Effects of Deformation Rate on the Fracture Toughness of Polymers
Eralp Pinardag, John Pochan, Charles L. Beatty, Materials Science, May 1999

Determining the fracture toughness of a polymer is important because it can be used to estimate the relation between the stress-to-failure and the defect size for a polymeric material in actual use conditions. Since polymers are viscoelastic materials, the fracture toughness as well as other mechanical properties will depend on the time and temperature of the test conditions. The effect of strain rate (time) on the mechanical properties of polymers such as Young’s modulus and yield and ultimate stresses are well known and studied [1-3]. High strain rate behavior of commercial polymers is of great interest to plastic part designers and yet these measurements are not readily available in the literature. The stress-strain measurements, either in tension or flexural mode, in the impact range are not easily obtained because it requires special testing systems. Low strain rate tests are usually done using a standard universal Instron testing system. Intermediate rates can be obtained by pendulum tests such as Charpy, Izod impact testers or drop tower impact tests. High strain rates can be acquired by several methods such as Hopkinson’s tensile bar apparatus by the impact of a projectile or a special testing system such as MTS high strain rate testing system. The aim of this article is to investigate the effects of strain rate on the fracture toughness of polymers such as polystrene (PS), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), polyethyleneterephtalate (PET), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and various compatibilized blends of HDPE/PET.

Crystallization of Ethylene-Octene Copolymers at High Cooling Rates
Paul J. Phillips, John Wagner, May 1999

The crystallization behavior of a series of ethylene-octene copolymers synthesized using metallocene catalysts has been studied using the Ding-Spruiell method of rapid cooling. In conventional crystallization experiments it was found, as expected, that the spherulite growth rates varied with octene content and molecular weight. When studied at rapid cooling rates the polymers generate their own pseudo-isothermal crystallization temperatures, in agreement with Ding - Spruiell's studies on other systems, however, at the lowest temperatures of crystallization, the spherulite growth rates of all of the copolymers studied merge and are virtually indistinguishable. The results indicate that there is a major change of crystallization mechanism under these conditions, of considerable relevance to polymer processing operations.

Hyperboidal Rotary Cutter - Modeling and Application in Recycling of Polyethylene Film in Pelletizing-Line Aggregation
Ryszard Konieczka, Andrew Plochocki, May 1999

Recycling of polyethylene films [1] is carried out by their disintegration into regular flakes - the process is difficult because of dimensional (large surface, small thickness) and property (flexibility and rebound) characteristics of the films. The disintegration is typically carried out with the knife mills [2] which constitute the first units of the recycling line. Traditional mills operate on the principle of pressurized knife cutting [3] since it allows to carry on the disintegration at a narrow slit between cutting edges of the fixed (stationary) and the mobile (rotary) knives of the mill. Because of parallel arrangement of the edges and large surfaces of the films which call for high cutting forces the process induces strong vibrations [3, 4]. The latter are eliminated in the hyperboloidal - rotary cutting mill developed recently and evaluated in our lab [4].

Polymers of Controllable Rheology - Volume Viscosity and Implications for Modeling of Processing
M. Heneczkowski, A.P. Plochocki, May 1999

Shear and compression rheometry of representative boronsilane (BSI) polymers and corresponding LDPEs demonstrates feasibility of modeling processing of the latter using BSIs at an ambient temperature. Industrial-range rheology of BSis was shown to be relevant for the performance in shock absorbers. Boronsilane polymers [BSI] constitute an unique class of polymers [1,2] of readily adjustable ratio of viscous and elastic components of their (Tab. 1) viscoelastic response. Level of the response at an ambient temperature is comparable with that of polymer melts at processing temperatures [3,4]. BSIs display also high and adjustable level of recoverable compressibility (resilience). These characteristics imply application in: • rheometry e.g. for identifying local stress distribution in the melt flow of o polymer using calibrated stress traces [5] embedded in 'rheoequivalent' BSI in an ambient temperature experiment; • technology such as • ambient temperature performance testing of the rapid prototype" [6] plastic molds and dies which are less expensive than these made of metals • high performance shock absorbers of readily adjstable resilience [7]. Here we aim at: • comparison of ambient temperature capillary rheometry of representative 'elastic' and 'viscous' BSI (designated as 'elastomer' and 'plastomer' resp.) with the melt rheometry of LLDPE a IUPAC melt rheology standard [7a]. In both cases technically significant range of stress was covered; • comparison of the volume viscosity and the time dependent compressibility of the 'elastomer' and the 'plastomer'. "

Clear, Radiation Sterilizable, Autoclavable Blends Based on Metallocene Catalyzed Propylene Homopolymer
Robert C. Portnoy, May 1999

In a previous paper the formulation and characterization of clear, radiation sterilizable, autoclavable blends of Ziegler-Natta catalyzed propylene homopolymers and metallocene catalyzed plastomers was described. These studies have been extended to blends in which the propylene-based component is also produced by a metallocene catalyst. We have found that higher plastomer content is required in blends with metallocene catalyzed polypropylene than with Ziegler-Natta produced material to provide comparable radiation resistance. Despite the higher plastomer content, the blends with metallocene polypropylene are similar in stiffness and resistance to softening at elevated temperature, yet clearer than the Ziegler-Natta polypropylene based compositions.

Commercial Epoxy + Monomer Liquid Crystal Epoxy Blends: Compatability and Curing Kinetics
Prakaipetch Punchaipetch, Veronica Ambrogi, Nandika Anne D’Souza, Witold Brostow, May 1999

Epoxy resins are known to have numerous applications. To improve their performance of the epoxy, we are applying molecular reinforcement by using polymer liquid crystals (PLCs). PLCs are well known for their excellent dimensional stability, good mechanical properties, high temperature usability, and outstanding environmental resistance. A novel retention class of LC thermosets can be obtained by endcapping mesogenic rigid rod molecules with reactive glycidyl groups. These thermosets potentially combine the performance of an epoxy resin with the excellent properties of LC. We have studied the simultaneous cure of the monomer liquid crystalline epoxy (diglycidyl ether of 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenol) with an anhydride cured diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F (DGEBP-F) epoxy. As a first step to determine optimum conditions for network formation, we report on the curing kinetics of molecular reinforcement of epoxy with a monomer liquid crystalline epoxy (MLC). The study was done by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) using autocatalytic expressions. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) is used to verify compatibility of the blended systems by investigating the glass transition temperature as a function of %composition.

ESCR Behavior of Plastic Materials in Medical Environments
Chuan Qin, Y.S. Ding, H. Dhyani, T. Kivlehan, K.Z. Hong, M. Monaghan, J. Penn, L. Woo, May 1999

Besides other facets of product development, it is imperative for medical device manufacturers to take great efforts through proper evaluation and consideration of material properties under practical conditions to prevent product failure at the end-uses. The environmental stress crack (ESCR) induced by chemical agents plays a significant role on material performances. In this contribution, in-depth studies have been carried out on different medical plastic materials, such as polycarbonate, copolyesters, ABS, acrylics, rigid thermoplastic polyurethane and their blends. More attention will be focused on a copolyester material for its unique ESCR behavior. Variation of chemical agents (such as different types of hospital disinfection solutions) have great impacts on physical and functional properties. Various plastics shows distinct environmental stress cracking phenomena under different conditions. Mechanisms of ESCR phenomenon under different environments have been explored. Fibril reinforcement by cold crystallization and chain session by hydrolysis of the copolyester may have contributed to its excellent chemical resistance against a wide range of chemicals and its catastrophic failure in acidic or basic environment. In addition, appropriate definition of product failures is also critical in making materials decisions.

Doing Business in the Former Soviet-Block Countries
J. George Drobny, Martin K. Pottle, May 1999

With the demise of the Soviet Block, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have started to built their own market economies and are eager to do business with Western democracies. The long duration of the monolithic political, military and economic block devastated the cultural, moral and economical fiber of the satellite countries, some of which had more or less democratic traditions in the pre-World War II time. Yet, the people have a remarkable resilience and a strong desire to become a part of the free world. This contribution deals with the historic background and current developments, shows how these are related and presents some recommendations which may be useful for those interested in doing business in this region. In the last nine years or so the region of Eastern and Central Europe has undergone the most momentous changes imaginable. The monolithic Soviet block fell apart, Germany has been reunited, and the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia have ceased to exist. The newly formed independent countries established governments by democratic elections. The challenges for these new governments are formidable; namely, to dismantle the rigid administrative and planning system typical for the communist system and to replace it with a political democracy and a market-based economy. Additionally, they are striving to develop greater contact with the rest of the world. The development of political democracy and individual freedom brought many economic improvements for the people. The supply of goods and services has improved immensely as new opportunities have emerged for everyone to amass wealth through their initiative, hard work and response to market demands. On the other hand, these changes appear to bring about some far less beneficial aspects: joblessness, economic insecurity, fear for the future and despair. The social and industrial infrastructure in many countries has all but collapsed, crime has increased immensely, social tensions have es

A Simple Method for near Quantitative Measurement of Polymer Blend Composition and Mixing Uniformity
Mark A. Barger, May 1999

Mixing is an important unit operation in the formulation, and fabrication of polymers, and a knowledge of both the dispersive and distributive components are necessary to adequately characterize a specific mixing process. Dispersive mixing, a measure of structural fineness, is important for rubber toughened and filled systems. Distributive mixing, a measure of homogeneity, is important for thermoplastic blends and reactive processing. Described herein is a rapid near quantitative technique to characterize blend compositional uniformity by using selective pyrolysis of PMMA containing model systems.

Freshman Design in Plastics Engineering
Carol M.F. Barry, May 1999

Although plastics product design is typically a senior-level course, the design process provided freshmen an opportunity to assess the jobs available to plastics engineers. Consequently, the plastics engineering freshman were given the assignment of designing new promotional items for the Department. Students examined plastics manufacturing processes, introduced to basic design concepts and followed the design process while they learned a computer-aided design software. Finally, design groups selected materials and a manufacturing process, calculated part specifications, produced part drawings, performed filling simulations using commercial flow analysis software. The designs were formally presented at the end of the semester.

Orientation Texture from Polymeric Materials Using Scattering Methods
John D. Barnes, May 1999

Orientation is an important determinant of the end-use properties of many products made from polymers. Scattering methods using x-rays and neutrons provide direct means of assessing such orientation texture. Oriented microstructural features possessing distance scales on the order of 10 nm to 1000 nm manifest themselves through anisotropic small-angle scattering (SAS). Oriented semicrystalline polymers exhibit anisotropic scattering in the wide-angle diffraction (WAD) range. This presentation provides an overview of the theoretical and experimental basis for measuring and interpreting these effects. Data on oriented lamellar microstructures are used to demonstrate the challenges that arise in this area.

The Effects of Steady Shear on the Order and Orientation of a Diblock Copolymer Melt Using In-Situ Small-Angle Scattering
Kathleen A. Barnes, Faith A. Morrison, Alan I. Nakatani, Jimmy W. Mays, May 1999

To understand the effects of processing on polymer melts requires experimental techniques that show the orientation of materials during processing. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) has been recently adapted to allow for examination of polymeric materials during shear. This work will highlight the benefits of combining shear and scattering techniques to study morphology, ordering and orientation of a polystyrene-polybutadiene diblock copolymer melt under steady shear flow. The order-disorder transition temperature (TODT) is unchanged at low shear rates but increases by DTODT ?TODT = ?1.35 at high shear rates. An analysis of the degree of orientation using order parameter calculations shows that maximum ordering occurs within 30 minutes of shear and better alignment is obtained at low shear rates. A large relative increase in the order parameter (up to 600 %) is seen upon cessation of the shear flow.

Flat System and Non-Turbulent Flow Pin Point Tip - New Concepts
Eduardo L. Belous, May 1999

The Flat gating system evolved from a controlled study of gate size optimization when applying Hot Runner pinpoint gating techniques. A major objective of the study was to maximize gate cosmetics when applying these gating techniques to a variety of plastic resins, each with their own distinct characteristics. The size of the gate was determined by the type of plastic resin used. A flat diameter was established at the downstream end of a pinpoint gating tip. The size of the flat was determined by the volume of resin required to fill the part. The results of the study produced a technique that allows for the calculation of specific gate sizes. The technique can be used to achieve a minimal gate vestige while maintaining optimum flow performance. The Flat System technique is independent from tip design geometry, and can be used with most resins (filled or unfilled) without regard for material viscosity. A second study was initiated to determine the direct wear characteristics (shear effect) of pinpoint tips when processing plastic resins with abrasive fillers. In recent years, the industry has used harder steel alloys (carbide) for tip construction in an effort to com rather than trying to resist it. This allows for tips made of softer steel alloys with increased life expectancy. Applying these new concepts to pinpoint tip construction results in improved molded part quality, improved gate cosmetics and reduced tip maintenance requirements.bat tip erosion (wear). The second study resulted in a new Non-Turbulent" design that maintains laminar flow along the pinpoint tip. The new design minimizes shear that is produced by "turbulence

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